One night last week, several of us were sitting around my little portable fireplace, relaxing. It had been rainy off and on during the week, and cool, so the fire was a welcome change from the damp chill of nightfall.
Mum was absent - I don't remember if she'd gone to bed (likely) or was off doing something (less likely). There was plenty of foot traffic past our spot - I put the fireplace in front of our booth so we could sit and be warm or roast marshmallows with folks rather than be cut off from our temporary community.
Our neighbors (stained glass vendors who are some of the nicest folks, and we're neighbors every year at this event) were sitting with me, enjoying the flickering glow. It was the night of the Tea Dance, which is a tough thing to describe - picture people who are camping in a tent city, dressed up in feathers, rainbows, shiny lame fabrics of every hue, and/or lights, glow sticks, or simply body paint. You have half a picture, now. Add in a sort of Hunch Punch of Doom, a "No one under 21, no ID no entry" ID checking policy, and loud dance music and you get a little more of an idea. It is...erm...festive.
I don't go to the Tea Dance. I don't have the strength.
So J, D and I were sitting around the fire, enjoying the night and each other's company, when we noticed strobes. "Tea Dance" we thought. We wondered idly how they managed to get strobe lights working in a primitive campground.
Not until we looked towards the Southern sky did we realize what it was - lightning. A tremendous, billowing, cauliflower of a cloud had blossomed above the tree line and was illuminating itself with pale blue flashes of pent-up static.
Above us the sky was clear, that deep, perfect blue of night, flecked with stars. To the south, rising high, obscuring the bits of light that were kin to those above us, was the storm. With every flash, it lit itself from within. There was no thunder, just the silent flicker of electric wonder. The brief strobes gave us tiny glimpses of the shape of the clouds, gave them definition, glazed them blue, peach, cream, grey. They lit the sky around the clouds, too. Lovely.
As the night deepened, we kept watch, happy to feed the fire bits of charcoal and wood, content to murmur our conversation and just...be.
The recently full moon began her ascent to dominion in the sky, wrapped in the gauze gown of cloud and storm. She peeked from behind the storm, glancing through misty veils of cloud, winking coyly before ducking back behind her ephemeral cover. She gave a touch of silver to the clouds, her light shimmering and spreading out along them, liquid luminescence flowing across the sky, contained by the slender lip of the horizon.
The lightning had long stopped, relenting to the Moon's superior brilliance. She reached her zenith, the storm rolled on to the south, and we eventually gave way to the length of our days, our nights of not enough sleep, and the hypnotic crimson in the depths of the fire's embers - we said out goodnights to each other and to the night's wonders, crawled into our respective beds, and slept well past morning's glorious dawning.
Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!
"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One
For old quotes, look here.
For old quotes, look here.