Strange light show
  in Melrose


by Don Norris

There was a week of storms over New England late this past summer, one of which created this highly unusual lighting situation over Melrose.

It was late in the afternoon, and the ponderous clouds were only 500 feet over our hilltop home, rolling eastward toward the sea.

And the rain stopped as suddenly as someone turning off a faucet. The sun, now visible as the cloudbank scudded rapidly overhead, was sitting on the ridge to the west of town. It was a brilliant, fiery orange, setting the forest of the Fells ablaze with back-light.

The clouds were suddenly enveloped from underneath in this strong orange light, which in turn was reflected back down to earth. Everything was paintred with a pumpkin glow.

The lawns, a brilliant green from all the summer rains, turned to a pale, warm gray. The trees and shrubs, normally a dark, rich green, were suddenly a vapid blue gray. The yellow house next door grew pale, like the color had been drained from the pigment..

The two beige plastic trash barrels turned orange, and the dark green one turned black. A rusty old tin trash lid turned a rich pumpkin. Even the sky was strangely rich orange.

And in 15 minutes, the clouds flew away, the sun settled behind the ridge, and we went back to a lovely, warm summer evening in New England. It surely was a spectacular light show.

September 5,2003

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