A Strange Dawn
It is impossible to pinpoint the moment of dawn. Like the opening of a lily, its presence is suddenly realized, its nascence indistinct. Its colourful tapestry is woven with a thread so fine the first stitch is invisible, forgotten. One can only appreciate the whole.
For someone like myself, more familiar with the setting of the sun than its rising, I sit before my window in the black ink of the disappearing night, waiting for the coming of the dawn. The artists have told me what to expect. Friedrich shows me the colour of mangos, Grimshaw’s green marries sea and sky. Turner paints the pinks and blues of a nursery. But this dawn, when it finally comes, is strange; it has little in common with those of the masters.
Like an newly born print in a darkroom, images appear slowly, traced in silver. Off in the distance, heat lightning, silent and horizontal, flashes a warning of what the day might bring. A warning, not a certainty. Infinitesimally the colours of the day emerge, their vibrancy erased to monochrome by the unusual torridity of this month of July. Like the healing words of truth and love, I long for the fresh, crisp air of Autumn to blow away the noxious haze that hangs like wet netting over the landscape.
Then I’m nudged by a cold wet nose and look down to see a large furry dog glowing white in the pewter light, his eyes questioning, unblinking. I glance back at the rising dawn, knowing it hasn’t told me everything that's to come. But I ruffle the big dog’s fur and let him lead me back to bed, still hoping for a better day, one more salubrious and sane than those of the previous week.
“When someone shows you who they are,
believe them the first time.”
Photo by Annie Leibovitz, 2006 Vogue Magazine
“Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it, 'all men are created equal, except negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read, 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.' When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”
Speeches and Writings, 1832-1858