A Heaven in the Eye

Sometimes it’s the sheer beauty of this place that just hits you in the face, stops you in your tracks, you put down whatever you were doing and just give in to it, compelled, forced to look and see and just be drawn into a drama of beauty and awe that is indescribable. Let me try my best. Yesterday the breaker got tripped on my internal beauty meter, we had been working in the hot sun and watching a giant thunderstorm build in the mountains in the interior, darkest grey at the base with billowing pillows of cloud reaching ever higher as the day heated up. By lunchtime the cumulus had reached the ionosphere at 50,000 feet and was spreading horizontally, a supercell had formed and announced its presence by the deepest of rumblings in the distance. It was raining buckets in town but we were spectators here, basking in the sharp rays of the Narpow microclimate and watching a son et lumiere show on the grandest possible scale. At sundown came the real show, by this time the supercell had spent itself, the tops became high cirrus that draped the finest curtains of peach and orange tissue across the sky and the storm remnants turned into drifting armadas following each other across the ocean to the horizon. Lavender pillows, backlit, sidelit, sails full as they made their silent way across to atmospheric oblivion. Everywhere a suffusing, atomic glow pervaded, an essence of pure luminosity that Watteau or Turner could only hope to paint in their wettest of dreams.  At the very edge, that immaculate razor line between ocean and sky, the air was so clear you could see through to distant dramas, other armadas falling away down the globe to infinity. The ocean turns to mercury at this hour, low angle light bouncing pure quicksilver back at you, the tips of breaking waves and swells picking up a shimmering red gold from the sun’s final photons of the day. Time, space, color, light, the human mind with its thirst for aesthetic ecstacy…the  actors leave the stage one by one, Mr. Sun gives a final wink and then nosedives into the sea, cloud forms merge into darkness and disappear as the dimmer switch is turned slowly and inexorably downward, exeunt. New actors appear, there’s deepest indigo, the blackness of space plus that last longest wavelength of the sun making the richest purple a king could ever covet. The old actors retire and new ones arrive in their millions, great hordes and conventions and continents of stars in every size and color. Paul Theroux describes it better than I can:

“Even in Africa I had never seen such a profusion of stars as I saw on these clear nights on Pacific isles – not only big beaming planets and small single pinpricks (plenty of fat blinking stars and masses of little peepers) but also glittering clouds of them – the whole dome of the sky crowded with thick shapes formed from stars, overlaid with more shapes, a brilliant density, like a storm of light over a black depthless sea, made brighter still by twisting auroras composed of tiny star grains – points of light so fine and numerous they seemed like a luminous vapour, the entire sky hung with veils of light like dazzling smoke…”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )


Connecting to %s