Monday, February 9, 2009

From the Heights

This happened almost two years ago. It happened the day after the massacre at Virginia Technical Institute. I had been strolling through Redwood Park in the late afternoon and had decided spontaneously to go to Adoration at a parish not too far away.

After coming out of Adoration I was hit with an irresistible tranquility, and I got in my car and drove off. Little did I know this peace was preparing me to see something.

I was driving to my parents' home down a highway into town, heading directly east. It was early evening when the light has not yet started going dim but the down-swing has happened in the sun's trajectory that enriches everything in deep hues. Fields were on either side and in the east in front of me white clouds billowed up and up, such that if they were bruised with blue and violet you would have said a storm was coming.

But these were cast with rose light that was forming from the west and with the usual grey of white clouds. They were wonderfully lit up from the westward sun. Driving along, my eyes went sort of south east in the sky, and it was as if I said to myself, "I wonder what you can make of those clouds there". This was a very faint thought in the midst of other thoughts; and I didn't make out anything there.

With that, my eyes went back to their regular position, looking directly ahead. And suddenly they were awestruck: practically all of the wide, towering cloud formation in the east was in the bold shape and appearance of an angel blowing furiously on a trumpet.

To state it as that alone would be insufficient. No moving picture could get at the force and movement inherent in this "still picture". This was no singular cloud that a fanciful child looks at and says, "Mommy, mommy, it looks just like an angel." This was a huge mass of stacked clouds set in relief against other massive clouds. The shadows, lights and forms conspired in such a way as to bring out quite scary subtleties; like the forms of the legs discerned as they would appear beneath cloth, puffing cheeks where the trumpet met the lips, the arm palm-side up, holding out the trumpet, the up-caught wing; the whole horizontal sweeping gesture of the body, flying with its face toward the south, one leg outstretched behind it at full length; the other bent at the knee like a 'V'.

You know those "3-D" pictures that were all the rave a while back? The ones you gaze at without focusing, and then suddenly the picture comes sharply out. This was sort of like that but without the cleverness; it was far, far simpler.

This was no accident of the elements. Unmistakable, it was like something there absolutely in the open for anyone to see, and because of it, somehow hidden. Too large for the "public eye", the sight yet was as though it were something merely caused by the heavenly fingertips lightly stirring the surface of the world's water.

The "angel" remained in the sky practically the rest of the drive to my parents, though started dispersing when I got there. Nonetheless, I went onto the lower roof to take some pictures even though the sight was no longer there. The pictures would not take. I pointed the camera elsewhere on random things and it would take pictures. So again, pointing toward the east, I snapped and snapped and the pictures would not take.

Take this all for what you will.

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