Tuesday, October 16, 2007

October Light

Light, light, north light....grey over the grey fjord, seas tumbling southward down Stephen’s Passage driven by the north wind of late autumn. Behind the boiling clouds the sun hastens towards the southern pole, each morning rising a little further to the south, each evening setting a little lower above the mountains of Admiralty Island, narrowing its arc, shortening our days. But still there is light, north light, transfixing those who dare to live in its consuming embrace, light of the visible spectrum and the invisible.

Clear light refracting through ice crystals layered too thinly to be seen as cloud; horizontal golden light pouring over the land when for a moment the sun finds a short-lived patch of blue. Fat rainbows arc the valleys, while snow showers plunge the peaks into whiteout, flakes whirling from every direction
Light: set against charcoal clouds, angled white light projecting through an unseen prism, touching the everything with fire as if lit from within: tree, wave, seaweed clump, boat, corner, roofline, fish, bear, each silver-tipped grizzly hair sharply defined and washed with light. And the colors—such colors!—as are never seen in their full reality except in this stupefying northern light.

North-light ever-changing in its otherness, yet always familiar, wild light that sears the heart; infinite light of ice and sea; light white and glistering against the black clouds piling in from the outer coast; the ephemera of fata morgana, floating ghost islands and flying Dutchmen; flat golden light casting long blue shadows across the snowfields, many times the length of the peaks that create them.


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