Rosy-fingered Dawn


I remember learning about literary epithets when studying Homer in the ninth grade.  We only read a condensed version  of the Odyssey, but we were lectured heavily on literary terms that few 14 year olds care about.  “Swift-footed Achilles” was easy to remember because I knew what an Achilles Tendon was; it was easy to associate Achilles with the swift-footed and to use it as an aid for understanding the literary concept our teacher was trying to pound into our brains.   “Swift-footed Achilles”  was my mnemonic for remembering the mnemonic literary device.  But, it was “rosy-fingered dawn” that captured my imagination.  I didn’t believe that I had ever seen a “rosy-fingered dawn” before and was sure that something that sounded that beautiful could never be found on my part of the planet.  Still, as an admirer of sunrises and sunsets, it didn’t take me leaving my teen years far behind before I had a visual memory to tie to a “rosy-fingered dawn.”

I woke this morning hearing my husband gasp.  I was barely registering his voice but the urgency in it brought me quickly out of deep sleep.  I’m glad that it only took a few more seconds to realize that the gasp was not one of horror, but one of awe.  Looking out the window towards the east, we could see this:

Rosy-fingered dawn edging above the eastern horizon.

Rosy-fingered dawn edging above the eastern horizon.

Looking towards the west, I could see the pink trails racing towards the horizon:

PInk trails streaming towards the west

Pink trails streaming towards the west

My photographs cannot do justice to the beauty that was this morning’s sky, though I tried.  It was only about 40 steps to retrieve my camera and return to the window.  In that brief span, the light had already shifted.  A few quick releases of the shutter and the right “light” was gone; the entire sky was quickly illuminated with yellowish winter light and rosy-fingered dawn had fled to another day.

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