I have seen few things as beautiful as a 6:30am lift-off from San Francisco International Airport in the autumn. From above, the rippled fog layer laps against the shores of the foothills like a voluminous cotton ocean. The clarity of the sky is incredible; a darkly saturated crimson horizon blends slowly upward along the colors of the rainbow, a midnight blue expanse directly overhead, sprinkled with bright starlight sparkles.
Fifteen minutes later, the sun breaks the horizon, its piercing light still golden, an intense orange flare.
And now, at 7am, only a hint remains of what was before, a rainbow horizon washed out, fading quickly.