Golden Seed Grove - Aspen
Looking Out My Back Door
There is a different kind of light in this valley. It is a light that must be savored by more than just one sense. Of course you can see it, but in this valley, you can touch the light as well. It is a light full of texture, fragrance and clarity. If you are lucky, sometimes you can even taste it.
Rogue Valley light; perceptible, palpable, tangible. Reach out and grasp it; lemony and rich, soft and smooth between your fingers and thumb. Rub the light slowly against the sensitive tips of your fingers, rub it against your lips. Cup the light in your hands and hold it to your face. Inhale the lush fragrant scents; spicy, savory, sweet and . . . something you canít quite place. Reach out and take a double handful of light; stroke it, knead it, roll it into a ball. Take a taste. Try a small careful sip; lick the stray bit of light that is melting down your hand. Be brave. Hold it carefully and take a huge luscious, luminous dripping bite.
You know, there are a lot of artists in this town. However, you never see anyone painting. What you do see are a lot of people outside in various different guises, and with various different alibis, soaking up the light. They soak it through their skin. They soak it through their eyes. Without a doubt, there is a lot of light-drinking going on. Here and there all over town; dancers, sculptors, writers, actors, painters, musicians . . . they are every where; drenched, saturated and doused in light. Then back to their studios they go; lightloged, lightheaded, lightdrunk. And then things begin to happen.
It is a capricious light; variable, whimsical and fluid. It can change in the flicker of an eye. In the summer, the light can grow weighty and still; thick saffron wool between your fingers. You almost have to squint to look across the valley; the light is redolent, musky, motionless. Sometimes on a late summer afternoon, the valley fills like a bowl with this heavy, unmoving light. It presses against your skin; pressure on your forehead; weight against the back of your neck. There is a bite against your tongue, peppery, piquant, pungent.
It doesnít last long, this heavy light. The minute the sun sinks behind the hills, the weight lifts, the air unbinds and the light begins to move; sparkling, glancing, dancing. The early evening light is apricot silk after the heavy wool of afternoon; it glides against your skin and is soft and silky against your eyes. This light is fruity, mellifluous; the melt in your mouth pleasure of a just ripe pear. Overhead, the clouds are ruffles of champagne pink, seeping with salmon and coral. When the sky behind the mountains has blossomed into primrose pearls and tangerine flames, the wind will come; up from the west like cool sweet wine. When the world grows cold, on days that elsewhere are raw and bleak, the valley light comes down like golden cashmere and caresses your shoulders with buttery warmth. This light is hearth and haven in the depth of winter; strong and abiding. It is thick and savory; rich and full of flavor.
Even on days that are wet, the light still fills the valley like cut glass crystal. On rainy days, the touch of the light is elusive, enchanting; quicksilver satin, smooth and fluent against your skin. Itís smells are cool and pearly; clarified, open, fresh. Taste the opalescence as the sun breaks through the rain; brisk, chill, quenching, clean.
The light blazes forth as Iris paints her bridge in kaleidoscope across the sky; smooth, sweet, lavender, savory, scarlet, dazzling, perfumed, soft, jade, vinegar, lustrous, cool, crimson, spicy, prickly, azure, zestful, musky, glistening, rough, sweet&sour, sharp, chocolate, lucid, fragrant, salty, turquoise, tangy, gleaming, rich, scarlet, glistering, flowing, emerald, fine-spun, sparkling, canary-yellow, pungent, delicate, chestnut, honied, lilac . .
I stop suddenly, attending closely to the light. It is brilliant, fragrant, delicious; cool and smooth against my skin . . . and . . . something more. Could it be? Is it possible? As the light glows stronger through the prism of color, I am sure. Music. The light is glistening a melody, gleaming a harmony. There is the tiny glimmer of a lullaby, the sparkle of a aria, the shimmer of a ballad. As the light waxes full behind the iridescent arch, a symphony begins.
There is a different kind of light in this valley.
Edwina Peterson Cross Ashland, Oregon, USA July 4, 2002