Blue or Not, that Rare Moon

Digital illustration: Rare Moon Seeing the moon at its showiest as often as I have lately makes me immeasurably glad. At the level of pure appearance, its resemblance to a magnificent pearl hanging on the breast of the sky makes that nacreous gleam a beauty of which I can never tire, any more than I would grow weary of taking slow, deep breaths after a spring rain when the lilacs have newly opened. It’s as though all the finery ever worn by all the goddesses of myth has fused into that one palely magnificent, ethereal yet endlessly potent jewel in the sky, so powerful that it can be seen sharply delineated at the height of day, yet as delicate as hoarfrost or needle lace in the faint patterns of its glimmering surface. And like the poets, philosophers and writers who preceded me, as well as those at whose feet I now sit, I remain in awe of the very idea of the moon; its mysterious pull on tide, time and spirit all at once never fails to startle me when I stop to think of it. I would like to sleep every night directly under the moon, staring until my eyes can stay open no longer, if I could really sleep there: while I imagine it might be impossible to close my eyes with such magisterial magic before me. Even when the moon is at its slightest, at nadir or waning to a hairline, it keeps its mystical hold on my imagination. Sleep or no, I can only expect I would dream. The glory of the moon demands dreaming, and whether I rest or not under its wondrous beams I will always delight in seeking to replenish my store of dreams, and by such restoration, to renew my own strength by the welcome, fabulous light of the gleaming moon.

Above and Beyond

digital illustrationSky Candy

Stars, sun, comets, moon and planets; rain and lightning, clouds and mist;

Birds and butterflies and rainbows; dragonflies by morning kissed:

What a sparkling declaration of the minutes passing by,

What a joy, this constellation of sweet treasures in the sky!

Though I hunger in the silence of shut-in days, sleeping, blind,

I keep constantly the radiance of these jewels in my mind,

Hoping, dreaming, moving, soaring–real, or the internal, eye

Loves the beauties so alluring of sweet treasures in the sky!

Night’s Benison

 

photoNight into Day
In the sinking stillness of the evening,
After birds have ceased to flit and call,
Silence comes to rest as day is leaving
And dark draws down the shade where night will fall;
The smallest breath of wind stirs from its sleeping,
For after dusk another world takes flight,
A world with gleaming secrets in its keeping
That give the constellations dazzling light,
Fill up the moon with shining opalescence,
Fill up the heart with dreaming of the day
And how its powers overcome senescence
When sun returns to chase the night away.photo

The Large and the Small of It

The depths of Space carry miraculous sparks of inspiration at a seeming infinity of levels.digital collage

A couple of years ago my husband was conducting a concert of choral works all, in one way or another, exploring the idea of Space, and he asked me to provide projected images that would act as a visual companion to the music. Since the centerpiece of the concert was to be a selection of movements from Estonian composer/astronomer Urmas Sisask’s ‘Gloria Patri‘–wonderfully meditative, somewhat minimalistic yet still quite melodic music which was to be accompanied by photographs taken through the Hubble telescope, I was given a clear starting point for the collection of visual images. The good people of NASA willingly agreed to let us use any Hubble images we liked, without any constraints and at no charge, so my task was to find the images I thought best suited the music at all points, edit them (some extensively, some less so) in order to fit the format of the projections, and collate all of it into a pre-arranged program that I could manually ‘play’ as the concert was performed. Looking for, and then through, hundreds of Hubble images was a bit of a project in itself; reformatting and resizing, digitally ‘cleaning’ and grouping and ordering them proved to be a little more weighty. But it was a pleasurable and energizing project all the same, staring at the stars and constellations in all of their miraculously varied glory. ‘Gloria Patri’ indeed!digital collageGoing forward to work out images for the rest of the pieces on the docket for this program, I was moved by both the enormity of the Hubble’s scope and our own galaxy’s tininess within the vastness of space to think that it would be wonderful to explore those strange dissonances and harmonies that occur in the known world, microscopic to massive, blurred by our limited vision and knowledge and delicately detailed by our constant finding of new facts and ideas in all of it. So for the other pieces in the concert’s repertoire, I sought out images that would complement each other yet emphasize the astounding range of contrasts in our spatial existence, from the granular to the grand. Pollen and planets might in fact have more in common than we can imagine, if we stretch our thinking just a little. Snowflakes and stars might be merely opposite ends of a spectrum that transcends dimensions, scale and vision.digital collageI was reminded throughout this process not only of my minuteness in the great spectacle of existence, but also of how fantastically treasure-filled that existence is, from the level of the subatomic to things and thoughts so massive that the Hubble telescope and all of its exponentially larger generations of offspring may never quite be able to encompass the enormity of it all. If I ever think I’m running out of ideas, I only need to remember this one exercise in humility and happiness, and I should be able to break out of my stasis as a flood of newly sparked inspirations stream like comets out of me.

Magical Night & Mystic Day

photoEnchantments

One night I stood upon the green

And every nightingale a-wing

Stopped in the linden trees to sing,

A perfect choir though all unseen,

Encircling in the meadow’s crown—

Night-blooming flowers ‘round my feet

Reflected moonglow, and their sweet,

Sweet breath rose up as stars fell down

In meteor showers to earth because

Its beauty was so great, so dear,

They longed to draw the night sky near

To all this peacefulness that was—

And while I stood upon that lawn,

Aching with joy, with ecstasy

As sharp as ice and flame in me,

I woke full wide, and it was dawn.photo

The day that came up in that place

Made all the green-wood hum and quake

With quivering for pleasure’s sake,

At seeing the full sun’s clear face,

Yet, basking in the softest fall

Of constant rain, as mist, to fly

In colored arcs across the sky

And shower prisms on us all—

The birds of day joined in that hymn

And coaxed the foxes to the green,

Contented beasts not often seen

In sun, and as I stood, a slim

Grey foal came, too, and nine or ten

Of rabbits, and the beasts all danced,

And I stood still, transfixed—entranced—

And blinked my eyes, and it was night.digitally painted photo