Week 46. Light

In the time it takes for light on the lake to fade from blue to a color like butter, for individual trees to blend into a solid horizon, for dusk to bring night.

When I went dogsledding last winter I walked around swallowing an open mouthed howl. To walk on dirt, eat by candle light, sleep with the waning warmth of a fire, bath only when the sauna is lit (wood also).

In the time it takes for the sun to slip into the water naked and glowing, loon calls sound of wild cats or fucking.

I was terrified the woman who ran the place saw through me. I felt guilty like I had drugs in my pocket.

We light even outer space. Escape is only lateral – to forgotten places without broadband. I know I’m unmoored, ungrounded, that I only know how to take root in the blunt rawness of wild.

Medium: Borden&Riley #840 Kraft Pad, Cretacolor Sepia Hell and White Pastel.

I wait all year for this time, when dark falls (or surrounds) at 5pm, when the sky goes from pink to lavender and Jupiter appears, when the shadows of statues become giants on the eaves. All the sadness and romance and mystery from moonglow and the ghost of waning light a hemisphere over.

My dad taught me to watch for when the light falls at the end of a summer day, for when things change shape. Suddenly the world can be different and impossible, only from the corner of your eye. But in winter, there’s no drawn-out changing of the light and the shapes of things; there are only trees, buildings, and bridges skeletal at the horizon.

I remember my grandma’s funeral through slants of northern light broken by spruces, the graveyard on a hill near Pre-Cambrian cliffside, air choked and yellow with wildfire smoke drifting southward. She was named Jay because her mom saw a bluejay when her daughter was born.

The jay’s blue feathers are a trick of the light, or a way to see things change shape outside of summer dusk. Light is scattered, bumping along the grooves of spine and quill, and the short blu wavelengths are returned to our eyes, made beautiful by the melanin that truly acts as pigment. And what we see is distance, illuminated.

Medium: Ink and watercolor


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