Sunday, September 13, 2009


Some days are a marvel, with glorious weather or not, marked by doings and seeings and discoveries and messages from people you love. Others creep on apace, marking time til the brief candle sputters out.

And then there are days when someone gives you something like this:

photo by marty kittrell

It’s a gift---a breathtaking once-in-a-Lifetime gift of something which has never been before, and in an augenblick, is never to be again. A split-second of sun and the freshening of the breeze, the lifting and turning currents of the water beneath, the flick of a dragonfly’s wings---those provoke almighty changes to the scape which tilt the light, evaporate the beads, cause the leaf to spill its incredible treasure back into the mingling pool.

But this was the NOW, the eternal Now, captured in the blink of a shutterspeed faster than birdpulse, the silver drops frozen forever in their sunlit dance upon the velvet. I marveled, I sighed a rapturous deep sigh of perfect harmony with the gleams; the light and the shadow and that magical magnetism which held each perfect bead contained within itself, immaculate in that one caught breath.

It’s a photographer’s quest, this uncapturable moment so frozen in its perfection, and this one is a self-spoken culmination of years of the seeking, the focus, the angle, the sheer happenstance of the moment---a click of the latch to lock in that instant’s glory. Artistry and skill and luck colluded, and the union is captured.

I was just captivated by the beauty of it, first of all, and then my mind went into overdrive over each minute capsule’s being a totally separate world, populated by tiny beings, a la Horton's WHO, or the little amulet on Orion's collar in Men In Black. (Don't look at the flashy thing).

I hadn’t given much thought to surface tension or convex meniscus or like molecules since college Physics. DAYUM. That stray thought, and the magic trickled away in the grim daylight of pure reason, though those principles are magical to me, as well. Silvery and transparent and perfectly round---nature's rounds far surpass any puny human-made ones. And the WHY of it, the HOW of that unbelievable legerdemain, that suspending of the Laws---those are questions past my solving, and I’m glad of that.

Don’t you just marvel at a quivery more-than-spoonful of coffee or water or tea? I even had a friend ask, of a recipe I was giving over the phone---when I mentioned a teaspoon of vanilla, she asked: Is that level or heaping? Depends on how still you hold it, I guess.

The big green ears on my hostas have that quality of grabbing the water, that velvety perfection which cushions each drop and holds it perfectly in place with its own odd properties of friction and texture. These drops are not flat anywhere, not even in the expected bottom plane---you can even see the diminution of the toe-hold, as it tapers in narrower than the whole.

Gravity will go on, as will the turning of the seasons and the path of the orbiting Earth, but something like this has the power to take us from mundane matters of Science, lilting off into Magic.

1 comment:

Keetha said...

A level or heaping teaspoon of vanilla. I love that.