The sky fairies spun cotton-candy clouds, and I laughed.
Because when I see pink clouds I remember my friend, Kevin, who died too young. After one of his many surgeries he told me that he stood on a wind-whipped cliff and gazed at a pink cloud and laughed in delight. We should always laugh at the gorgeous silliness of our world as if we had bought just one more day.
As I hiked, the sun sunk deeper beyond the horizon and the mountain silhouettes turned slate-gray and then black. Coyotes ripped in high-pitched hysteria from the river bottom. Have you ever noticed how frenzied they sound compared to the haunting howl of wolves?
The sky became so saturated in color that it reminded me of a character I wrote for a story that never got finished. So I'll give him a little spotlight here:
A man appeared with skin the color of rainbows. Around his waist was a belt with hooks that held a clattering skirt of paintbrushes in all sizes and shapes.
"Now that's a sky worthy of Tiepolo or Veronese, although, you know, I taught them how to do it," he said to me.
I was too astonished to ask what he meant.
He dipped a brush into pigment, using himself as a palette. Then he lifted the brush, which grew so long it reached the sky, and he dabbed a swath of coral, hot as the Caribbean across the clouds.
"Where do you get such color?" I asked, finally more curious than awe-struck.
"It's all around! Purples from amethyst, teal from amazonite, emerald-green from diopside. For blues, there is lapis lazuli or azurite. Malachite gives deep green. Did you know I can make superb storm clouds from blue apatite and forests from the green?"
I shook my head, watching his paintbrush gild the edge of a cloud.
"You don't see skies like this too often any more. Mostly, they've faded," he said, his brush hand dropping to his side.
"How can that be? You are painting this one."
"I was drawn by your desire to see the setting sun. There was a time when people honored sunrise and sunset. They held ceremonies. Their shamans chanted. They burned sweet herbs and played music. There was the miracle of a new day and of its close. But now, people barely notice. It's as though they've lost their connection to the cycle of days, to the wonder of it. Nobody cares anymore, and so it is fading."
Okay, that's the snippet. I've got no more. So what do you think--have we lost our sense of wonder? Or are we the ones to keep it alive.