Tuesday, October 1, 2002

The sunrises are beautiful at this time of year. There is a lot of moisture in the air, which turns to fog as the dawn breaks, and the sky is brilliant yellow and red in the minutes before dawn.

Chet Raymo, writing recently in the Boston Globe captures the glory of aumtumn sunrises in this column.

Surely there is no more godly hour than the dawn. Mist pools in the hollows of the meadow. The water in the brook slips under the bridge with a dreamlike languor. The stillness of fading night is broken by the tip-tip-tip of a nuthatch...

This is the hour when the mushrooms shoulder up in shadows, flexing their caps in the early light. From the top of a distant pine, a red-tailed hawk assumes its morning patrol. As I leave the woods and step into the meadow, there is always the possibility that I'll see a grazing deer or two; they bound into the underbrush at my approach, white tails flashing.

The world holds its breath.

A waning crescent moon joins Jupiter in the eastern sky, its ''unlit'' side made visible by a faint glow of Earthshine. A day later, the moon will be only two days from new, and eyelash thin. A thinner moon is almost impossible to see.

At dawn, the atmosphere empties out its bag of optical tricks - reflection, refraction, scattering - to great effect, spilling sunlight over the horizon, parceling out components of the sun's white light in pale washes of color. The reeds along the pond and the trees at the back of the meadow are daubed like stage sets, eerie tints of rose and violet ...

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