Red Sky in the Morning…

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43 degrees and cloudy.

Well, that’s what my phone says, my eyes tell it differently.

The light gleans through the windows like knives heaved at a cutting board, flashes at each window, upstairs, downstairs, hallway, kitchen, an orange and blue whirl coming from the east. I hit the button on the coffee maker, grab my phone and my camera, still in slippers, and scramble outside, knowing that it’s one of those sunrises. Over and just to the left of the bank barn, deflecting through the trees, cutting through the water tower in the distance, somehow leaping over the mountain range, the frame.

Border, Kiss and Dictina’s Boy run to the gate as I run out the door. The neighbor’s cows don’t look up, as the sun rolls above them in the distance, up and over the trees, over the horizon like Grand National horses over the Chair. I snap away, wishing I knew what I was doing. I don’t dare look at the screen on my phone or my camera, my photos are never as good as I expect, never as good as my eye, never as good as the real thing.

In my eye, I see burnt orange, charcoal, slate blue and red.

Now, about that saying…”Red sky at night, sailors delight, red sky in the morning…”

Uh oh.

Mary McGlothin calls me a couple of hours later, asking about the ground, wondering about the forecast. I look it up ­- and I’m sorry I do. Snow, wind, rain…proper chasing weather. Now, proper chasing weather at Newbury in December or Cheltenham in March is one thing. Proper chasing weather at Old Dominion Point-to-Point? Not quite as endearing. A stellar could get decimated.

As I type, Vautour crashes out at Aintree. The 1/5 favorite in the Melling Chase slaps in a short stride late at the ninth fence, hind hooves push off the take-off board, the front-runner clips, tips, slips and is down, rolling over Ruby Walsh. The jockey winces and writhes in pain, or at least, disappointment. Vautour leaps to his feet and gallops off, leading God’s Own over the last, across the finish line, like, ‘I don’t know where the hell Ruby went?’

Proper chasing mistake.