East to West
by Ray Fowler, MD
Copyright Jan 1, 1986

(Time in Space Home)

last night I stood for a long time in the dining room
looking out the window toward the western sky.
The sun had set, and the special
moment of twilight was at hand.
One of nature's most vivid pictures is the "afterglow",
after the fall if you will, where the remnants of
the day are backlit by the retreating orb.

It's that afterglow that set me thinking of you,
as I looked westward.
My thoughts began with the sky itself.
It wasn't turquoise but a little lighter.
Certainly there was no "primary" color there.
No, what I saw was a mixture of colors
of very lightened blue, perhaps a little white,
a touch of gold, but all together, all at once.
This was an iridescent sheen that draped the horizon
as canvas for the Master's hand.

Upon this easel were set oblong streaks
of almost marginless cream, permeated throughout
with fine holes through which the blue peered softly.
I should say here that my house is very quiet.
Only a very reverent "hussssshhhhhhh" murmurs
from the floor ventilator beneath the window where I stood.
And, I'm sure, knowing somehow that I had
important things on my mind and
that I shouldn't be distracted,
the ventilator, at just that moment,
closed its mouth and knelt silently as in prayer.
So, I, too, was now silent, looking through the shutters,
toward this evolving art, toward the West...toward you.

What really flowed into me were the colors of the clouds.
They, too, shone with soft fluorescence,
but their shades changed every few seconds, though slowly,
like the minute hand of a clock, fixed in the moment
yet evolving nonetheless.
Deep, bright pink/orange morphed by the few seconds
to reigning purple/red to deep violaceous indigo to
gray with hints of backlighted crimson.
And, at last, framed in the now dimming sapphire hues
of the fading landscape behind,
the fluff became nearly transparent, colorless,
quietly acquiescing to the inevitable blackened slumber
of the night.

A line from Jeremiah Johnson comes to mind.
A time came where he was kneeling with his son by the river,
deep in the canyon, in the land they called their own.
High above an eagle, twisting slowly in the thermals way away,
screamed his words to no one and everyone,
echoing through the hills.
Johnson turned to his son and,
in just a couple of words that spoke of what labor it was
to ride the mountains looming like walls on either side,
said, "I bet that eagle wouldn't take no time
to cross that mountain."
And then he chuckled and said,
"hell, he's there already."

I looked for a last moment
toward the fading western glow and thought,
"I bet that sun wouldn't take no time to be where she is."

And, then I chuckled,
and smiled a long sad smile,
and said, "hell, it's there already."