Sunday, April 1


In posts past I have written on sunrise and the snow. All of those came from my experiences back in Minnesota. None ever originated from Gonzaga, mostly because it's an urban school, in the middle of a residential neighborhood and only a mile or so from downtown. It's really not so bad. Spokane is hardly a metropolis, and the streetlights aren't so plentiful that they completely block out the stars. Still, the campus is such a controlled environment, so any time I'm able to completely remove myself from campus and the city itself, it's a beautiful experience.

This weekend, we had a retreat out at Bozarth, a mansion on the outskirts of Spokane. And I mean outskirts. Just down the hill from where Bozarth stood was a minor marsh, the kind of place where the trees weren''t transplanted, the terraforming is minimal, and there's grass that has never been touched by a lawnmower. The kind of place I could bike to in maybe ten minutes back in Baudette but need a car to reach now.

First of all, the sunset was beautiful. I'm so used to sunsets on the plains where I can watch the sun go all the way down and nothing obstructs the view, but here it fell behind the mountains first. The mountains were covered in trees made golden by the setting sun and cast shadows that seemed to be miles long. The colors caught by the clouds? Rich and warm, colors that would have taken Picasso out of his Blue Period early.

But that wasn't the capstone of it all.

Around midnight, I took a walk into the marsh, hoping for a little stargazing. I hadn't even reached the path down the hill when I realized that wasn't going to be much of an option. The moon was full and bright enough to cast shadows of its own. Freaking shadows. I've seen it before, but it still amazes me. Do people even know that can happen? Still, I felt the need for a walk, so continued my way down. The hill was steep enough to need switchbacks, and everyonce in a while the trees were open enough that I could get a decent view of the valley and marsh. It didn't so much take my breath away as make me forget to breath for a few moments, which really is funny. I had made the walk earlier in the day and commented to friend that it would have looked so much better had it been later in the spring or summer because it was still all drab and brown from the recent winter. But there is no color in moonlight, and all that remained was a magnificent intensity to the landscape. Details were lost, and the focus turned to other elements. A stream ran through the marsh. In the sunlight you could see all the way to the bottom and all the life and litter that were in it. At night I only had a sense of motion. I couldn't tell if it's depth were measured in inches or yards, but the light captured the little breaks in the surface and the rapid flow of the stream.

It was beautiful.

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