Rosy Fingers and Golden Arms

I’m enjoying the slow convergence of dawn with my waking up time. Pretty soon we’ll be “at one.” Just in time, too, because it will be “colder than a well digger’s ass,” and I won’t be able to open the back door and leave it open for the dogs until I get up a couple of hours later. That door opens to the laundry room, and the pipes would freeze. Yep. That’s how things are out here in the Back of Beyond.

Dawn has labored long as a metaphor. One of the coolest (long…) moments in my undergraduate life was reading The Odyssey in Homeric Greek and one of the coolest moments of that was learning to read, “Rosy fingered dawn.” Back in those days, when poetry was recited not read, little devices — like repetition — added music to the recital and probably made the long poems easier to remember. I honestly cannot see the dawn without, in my mind, thinking, “Rohodoctulous hos.” (ῥοδοδάκτυλος Ἠώς) Dawn — Aurora — wore a saffron robe, had golden arms and red fingers.

My two favorite literary dawn bits are in Thoreau’s Walden.

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep.”

“All memorable events, I should say, transpire in morning time and in a morning atmosphere. The Vedas say, “All intelligences awake with the morning.” Poetry and art, and the fairest and most memorable of the actions of men, date from such an hour. All poets and heroes…are the children of Aurora… To him whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning. It matters not what the clocks say or the attitudes and labors of men. Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me.”


Meanwhile, here in Colorado, the San Luis Valley is an island of sunshine on this Thursday morning while most of the state is enduring snow, high winds and frigid temperatures. The very cold temps will arrive here tonight. So, yesterday I winterized the front garden with the leaves that have already fallen from the trees in front of my house. My corner of the world — on the map above — shows dry roads (beige lines) and clear skies while all around? Purple (high wind) and blue (snow and ice). Highways and mountain passes have closed (red dots), people are skidding right and left. No one is EVER ready for this. Luckily, it will only last three days…for now.

14 thoughts on “Rosy Fingers and Golden Arms

  1. And regards to Tom Waits singing “Diamonds on my Windshield” where now and again it was also “colder than a well digger’s arse”. I even had to shiver a little when reading your contribution. It is even warmer in Switzerland at the moment.

    • I thought you’d catch the allusion! 🙂 Tonight it’s going to be -12 C here and for the next two nights. OH well… Two years ago our first and only snow of the year was on October 9.

  2. I saw the weather in CO and wondered about you! -12….holy cow, Martha. I am sitting here in shorts and a tank top. Sunny Florida has not even welcomed fall yet, and you’ve already moved onto winter. Stay warm.

    • We’re good at winter. I hope the dogs adjust quickly to the closed back door. Usually there’s a little transition period. By Saturday we’ll be back to normal for October. Meanwhile the furnace is on. 🙂

  3. Sounds like it could be cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. 🙂 (I’m so elegant!)

    All intelligences awake with the morning. It is lucky I awake before midday.

    Stay warm, Martha. Happy Bear Days.

Comments are closed.