Ray of Light

February 22, 1999

One of the first things I noticed when I lived abroad at latitude far south of this one is that the magic of twilight is short lived in the southern zones.

This morning when I pulled into the parking lot of the gym I saw the first rays of the sun creating a vertical shaft in the eastern sky.

I parked so I could watch the painter paint the dawn.

A few soft clouds that had been gray were now tinged with lavender at the horizon. The tops of the clouds glowed with a light yellow cast. Higher in the sky, pink was the reigning color.

And the shaft of light, pink. This was not the twinkling of-an-eye shaft of light as in the green ray, but the ray was about the width of the sun itself, once it broke the edge of the horizon. As each moment passed, the gray clouds became more lavender, and then the bottom edges of the clouds began to glow as well. Slowly the pink ray changed to yellow as the light of dawn began pushed away the darkness and bleached out the color in the sky.

I watched as the sun rose fully behind a thin veil of cirrus until it was too bright to watch. Others had come and gone in the parking lot, none stopped to watch the ray of light.

I needed that ray of light, I was not looking forward to the day, soon I would be dealing with vultures circling the carrion.

I was on time for the next event.

Some things you just have to be on time for. I only swam today, I had to be on time.

It was an unusual building, I have driven by it for over 30 some years and never been inside. The room I was in was an octagon with very high ceilings.

I was quiet today. Essentially I had nothing to say. I came to listen. I was told where to sit and I did.

Somewhere in the next 30 minutes or so, a ray of light hit the panes of glass in the high ceiling. There was only one seat or two in the entire place that could be illuminated this morning, and I turned and watched the beam of light come from behind a small cloud.

The blue stained glass gleamed and the dust particles sparkled in the air. From over two stories high the light traversed the chapel, lay across the casket and landed on my lap.

I looked to my right and saw another pallbearer's folded hands illuminated in his lap.

It was not a grievous time as the man had been old, and his life was full and the event expected.

But still, I took comfort in a ray of light illuminating a pair of folded hands.