The late afternoon sky bloomed in the window for a moment like the blue honey of the Mediterranean – then the shrill voice of Mrs. McKee called me back into the room.
In the midst of the long afternoon party, Fitzgerald throws in this little gem, perfectly capturing the way a striking coincidence of visual beauty can take you out of your physical environment for a moment.
I remember walking across the campus at Princeton, lost in thoughts of a cold winter just passed with nothing ventured and nothing earned, thinking about a situation closing in on me like the walls of a slowly collapsing cave. It was spring but it didn’t feel like it yet, the rains came every day but the water was cold with sickness rather than the warm rain that feeds the earth. But that morning was a new day, the air still sharp but a clear blue sky suggested that the dew could burn off to reveal real sunlight playing off the grass. Looking up as I passed McCosh Hall, I saw a square of sky framed in the arched faux window atop the building, a perfect blue that held the whole spring in its depth. I knew then that winter was over, that as the day continued spring would declare its annual victory . . . then I put my head back down and trudged through the slush that remained on the ground from yesterday’s snowfall.