Home > 2011 Posts > Rosy-Fingered Dawn

Rosy-Fingered Dawn

Homer got it right.

In the Iliad, he speaks of the incomparable Aegean dawn:

“Now, when rosy-fingered Eos in robe of saffron hastens from the streams of Oceanus, bringing light to mortals and immortals… .”

Off the Island of Delos

Ever since reading the poet’s words as a boy, I had dreamt of seeing Eos perform her magic. So, when I first had the good fortune to sail the Aegean, I was up on deck well before dawn that first morning. The beauty I found there brought me back every morning.

On that trip, my companions were enthralled by the Dodecanese evenings. And those too are not to be missed. But I happily chose to ease up a bit on night life in favor of those special dawns. I was never disappointed except for one stormy morning as a grumpy and no doubt hung over Zeus hurled his lightning bolts all around us. Even now when I return, I still jump out of my bunk at zero dark thirty every day to gobble up another helping of dawny goodness.

Eos in the Sky Near Samos

Photos are sometimes tough to get while sailing along in the dim early light. Tough but worth it. Riding at anchor is better. Ashore, with the camera on a tripod is more so. But the privilege of just being there before sunrise is always best.

Ancient Greek myth had the dawn goddess, Eos, with her rosy fingers and golden arms opening the gates of heaven every day. This allowed her brother, Helios, to bring his chariot into the world, carrying light across the sky. As you might imagine, people back then took care to make sure Eos stayed happy.

We moderns know better of course. Isaac Newton figured out that it’s all just soulless math. But when you are out there, alone with the sea, gazing at that storied sky, an Aegean dawn doesn’t feel like mundane celestial mechanics. It feels like a miracle.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: