It is ironic that a few weeks ago I was convinced that winter had completely bypassed our little corner of the world. As I chirped about budding branches and peeking bulbs, winter decided I was being altogether too smug. This week we got walloped. Trapped indoors for several days in a world of white everything, my thoughts turned to color.
How the eclipse blotted out our separateness.
On August 21, 2017, great swathes of the country came together to revel in the shadow of the moon. For me, the days leading up to the event were filled with anticipatory excitement, not unlike the days before a wedding or birth or some other celebratory event. The fact that thousands—no millions—of others across the country were planning to join me in a great migration toward the path of totality filled me with a sense of solidarity. I felt part of a community of others whom I would never meet—never see—but who I knew shared my excitement, wonder, and awe. Humans.
Having struck out at finding lodging that would cost us less than our mortgage payment, we got lucky in the final pre-eclipse days. Esther, our Airbnb hostess from last year, came through with a room for us at her farm...complete with full breakfasts and home-baked pies.
So we headed out, my husband Bob and I. On the drive to Oregon from Seattle, we encountered little traffic and no signs of a mass migration. But when we stopped en route for the obligatory bag of Corn Nuts, our cashier asked if we were headed towards the eclipse and commented on the number of other people who had already been through that day.
Once there—there being Carlton in the heart of Oregon Pinot country—we went scouting for a viewing site while I expended considerable energy mourning my lack of photographic equipment suitable for capturing the event. Since I could not photograph the sun, I reconciled myself to photographing the mood.
As Eclipsian luck would have it, Esther owns an ideal hillock surrounded by fields of winter wheat, topped by a stand of trees sheltering a Masonic cemetery that dates from pioneer days. So it was decided. We would watch the passage of the moon from this spot whose quiet inhabitants would not object to our presence and might even be glad for the visit. So on that day, we and the residents of Masonic Cemetery #3, joined by a handful of locals, spent a couple of hours observing and commenting on the quality of the light. When the drop in temperature brought up the wind, we oohed and aahed as the wheat in the fields rustled. Joined for those brief moments by millions of others standing in stillness, we watched as the moon and the sun aligned to darken the day. The moment of totality came and went.
When I think about us humans on that day, I think about toddlers exploring their physical environment marveling at every new discovery. At best, we are mere toddlers when it comes to knowing our corner of the universe. Or any corner. We must be reminded that beyond our daily joys, sorrows and petty self-absorption there is an unfathomable vastness to which we belong—minute as we are. And in that vastness, we have only each other.
This eclipse, this hyper-anticipated, much-ballyhooed event provided us with a less than subtle experience of our solar system's clockwork. Is there anything more reliable than those rotating gears that give us our days, nights, seasons and tides? Is there anything we take more for granted? Perhaps each other.
Salut to all my fellow Eclipsians.
I moved to the Northwest at the end of a summer one year and within a month, someone pulled the lid over the place and we went dark. Having moved here from San Francisco, this sent me into deep mourning for the loss of light. It was a profound reaction and it took me a number of years to finally adjust. Still, pretty much every year since then, I make a pilgrimage back to the Bay Area to reexperience light. Light that fills the mind with champagne thoughts. Light that quickens the heart with the anticipation of pleasurable indulgences and well-lit beauty. Light that makes the air sparkle.
But nature has a way of compensating for whatever she takes from you and I have come to recognize her antidote for the absence of light during a good part of our year. It is the color green. She fills the air with it. Every green she can imagine—all at once. One has only to walk into the forest or a neighborhood park to drink in this pure and essential color of life. It makes up for a lot.
Green light is essentially healing light. It says to anyone who listens, "Trust me, I am always here. I am eternal." Green light calms the anxious mind and fills the heart with feeling. Nothing titteringly high, but the feeling of being balanced, creative and safe.
So I have come to love my home. To feel the power that emanates from this green place and to feel gratitude for its shelter. It is a true and honest place with rules that are reliable and fair. Green light many not induce champagne thinking, but it sure cures the longing for it...when you understand what really matters.
A happy day to all.
When I look around me, spatial geometry and color harmonies are what speak to me first. Whether I am in or out of a scene, I feel the angles and curves of space. Geometry defines my relationship to the objects I view. It is the road map from me to you and beyond the visual plane.
Then there is light which surrounds us. And oh how lucky we are for that! Light reveals itself through the colors we perceive, but there is so much more that we don't. So much more that I yearn for and wonder if I will ever see.
Did you know that there are no wrong colors in nature?
You can look and you can see. The two are not always simultaneous nor necessarily the same. Sometimes seeing involves a sensitivity to what isn't there. Sometimes seeing is more like imagining.
Artists squint to minimize detail and see the spread of shapes and patterns of light and dark. This play of light and dark in an image functions similarly to the bass or percussion in a piece of music. It is the structure on which everything else hangs and the container for the feeling tones of color.
Tension, comfort, melancholy or serenity, are all expressed in the interplay of light and dark. It provides us with definition, both visually and psychologically. One defines the other and together they help us define ourselves.