Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Look the Other Way

I’ve lived in two old houses with pink and grey bathrooms, not the greatest interior decorating statement, and I wondered at the time what inspired such a colour combination to be foisted on countless tenants over the decades who had to groan daily at being surrounded by such a drab d├ęcor.

My answer arrived one day some years later. I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed it before, and I saw it again this morning. Those exact shades of pink and grey can be found in many a sunrise or sunset. In the sky they are beautiful. In a bathroom they are not.

I have copious amounts of sunrise and sunset photos, those forays at the start and end of the day trying to capture the quintessential moment of the sky in all its glory. The attraction is natural. We are drawn to these short lived spectacles of beauty, some bold and awe inspiring, others diffused in subdued pastels which greet the day or say goodnight softly and gently.

Today was such a morning. Not a breath of wind, the only sound the chirping of birds and the occasional vehicle heading up or down the mountain on the main road. With a complete cover of grey cloud the only evidence of the sun’s appearance was the faintest sliver of molten gold and pink. Heading away from the sun on my walk the grey clouds were tinged with the palest pink, a deft touch but enough to soften and warm the steely grey.

This morning’s sunrise may have been soft and mellow, but yesterday’s revealed another gem when I took the time to look in the opposite direction. The usually dark mountain range was awash with coloured light, even the stately gum’s mottled trunk was picking up the reflected light to great effect.

Which turned my thoughts to another moment captured last week as I headed home just as the sun was setting. The western sky was aglow, but what grabbed my attention was the colour reflected in the eastern sky, highlighting the remnant of a rainbow on the horizon. I was fascinated. Rarely had I seen such a beautiful sight when looking away from the main attraction.

It was a reminder to me that sometimes the source of light, both physical and metaphorical, as attractive as it might be, is not all there is to see. Focus on it alone and you can find yourself stumbling blindly along as the details around you are lost. Instead, see it as a way of illuminating your surroundings and the response can be very different. Suddenly you can see where you’re going.