Friday, January 22, 2010

Seeing Seasons

I saw Summer yesterday.

It happens to me at least twice a year, every year. And, each time it's as unexpected and delightful as if it was happening to me for the very first time.

The phenomenon is familiar, but the setting never is. Yesterday I was riding on the bus. I was reading or looking at something near at hand when I suddenly looked up and out the window.

The bus was stopped at Sixth and Lamar. As I looked across the street I saw a man setting up something on the rooftop patio of the Whole Foods building. His movement caught my eye, but it was the light on the palm tree down in front of the building that made the moment.

Even though it is still January, and even though the weather is cold (well, for Austin, anyway), there was something about the light that said, simply, Summer.

What was it, really? Perhaps it was the angle, perhaps the color. But does the angle or color of the Sun change, just like that, from one minute to the next?

The bus lumbered on. I was looking at the world awash in a Winter Sun again, trying to imagine how change like that might be possible. I know that the character of the light changes from season to season, but how is that actually expressed? The world is turning, after all, and every second, the angle changes.

Even big things, like seasons, have their small moments.

Sure, in July, it's easy to see the summer sun, perhaps even hard to see anything else. But then, one day in August, while riding on that bus in the stifling heat, I'll look up and see Winter.

At that point, seeing the next season won't make me any cooler, but at least I'll enjoy the surprise.

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