For two or three minutes the light on the mountains in the morning is orange. For two or three minutes in the evening the light on the mountains is orange.
The light turns the white snow orange-red, and the brown rock brown-orange. The town under the mountains remains white and brown, red and brown, blue and brown.
In the morning, the orange light means the day is warming and becoming brighter. In the evening, the orange light means the day is ending, becoming cold again, and darkening.
Sailors, who are said to care about the redness of the sky, don’t care in this town. They do not delight. They do not take warning. The ocean is far away. There are a few sailors in this town.
For two or three minutes in both the morning and evening, long shadows fall wherever the light is blocked. In the creases of the mountain, behind thick trees, and over the whole town black shapes stretch.
The adage about red skies is meant to indicate the presence of clouds. Long light hits clouds and makes them red-orange, thus the sky is red. But there are no clouds here, and so the sailors are at a loss for where to look for signs. Instead they watch the snow, and the rock. The sky remains clear.
Each morning I watch the mountains turn orange, as I do each evening.
This is a town of retired sailors, no longer interested in watching for red skies at night and red skies in the morning. This is a town, a great distance from the ocean, filled with sailors far from the sea.
After two or three minutes in the morning, the creases, the areas behind thick trees, and the town begin to lighten. Orange gives way to yellow-red gives way to white-yellow and finally to a clear white.
In the evening, after two or three minutes, the creases fill up with darkness and the town loses its remaining color. The orange thins, becoming a brilliant red and then disappearing into gray, which soon turns to black.
I am a sailor far from the sea, and I watch these reds come and go each day for two or three minutes. For two or three minutes each day the red has no meaning for me beyond its ebb and flow, beyond the regularity of dawn and dusk, beyond its redness.
Now it is morning, and I must wake. Now it is night, and I must sleep.