A sheaf of mountains fans out all the way to the end of the sky. Sliced into thin wafers, the Austrian Alps splay out across a spectrum of blues. At my feet they are dark as shards of malachite, but the farthest peaks are chipped opal and splinters of milk-glass, so translucent they must be ghosts of mountains past, or an Otherworld’s crags glimpsed dimly through dawn’s veil.
The sky is strung with sunbeams, stretched taut to the horizon, sunbeams steel-clad like harp strings. But this morning the harp stands silent. The wind is too drowsy to play. She rolls over and nestles into the grass, breathing softly as a sleeping child. Still, a melody lightens the morning air—in the valley, cowbells murmur a never-ending prayer.
We come to a lake the color of a tornado-sky, a haunted green, blanched and brooding. Embedded in the Alps, the lake is a lozenge of jade. Wind chips the water’s surface, faceting the gem with the precision of a jewel-smith. Where sunlight rakes the chiseled waves, the water throws sparks. If I had an afternoon’s luxury, I would spend it here on the shore of summer’s workshop, studying sun-craft and wind-smithery.