Light itself makes light in us, in me for sure. Light redeems me from dark tempers. Right now, with all humidity corralled away and those vast blue skies stretching on and on, each bright day feels as if it were itself alive, and that its clarifying energy sustains me.
Olive Trees with Yellow Sky
The Sun is 92,960,000 miles distant and its light takes a little over 8 minutes to reach us, and so the light I see strike the bottom of the creek where I walk is already a function of the past, but when it reaches into the clarity of the fast water, it magnifies the muddy sandstones scattered in its course, and they glint as if made of refined platinum. Light engulfs us in waves and particles, in spectrums seen and unseen; for a whole week it has been flood time everywhere.
Yesterday the light on the paper-thin leaves atop the corn stalks and on the walnut tree leaves made them look like they had been irradiated. They glowed from within, infused with a fissile current. The red-purple heads of Switchgrass grew deeper in color; whole swathes of meadow carried tracers of red back and forth in breezes.
Starry Night Over the Rhone
Some scholars have speculated that Van Gogh’s astonishing ‘yellow’ paintings were the result of xanthopsia, a condition of perception where “objects appear more yellow than they really are,”* but perhaps his eyes just opened up into a wider aperture, more light came teeming in, and he could not help himself. Light transfused into yellows filled his night skies too. For most of the 1880’s when he made so many of these, he must have been in a continual state of ecstasy.
Wheat Field with a Lark
Whatever else is going wrong with the world, we do have this light that honeys into us, and the day thus made good stretching out ahead.
*From “Xanthopsia”, a poem by Maxine Kumin