12 Dec 2011

The Colour of Sky

I’m seeing things as I am’
Laurel Lee

The air is so still, as if the wind is holding her breath. Not a whisper of movement, not the tiniest current of air travels over my sun-warmed skin. The only sound, as day glides towards dusk, is the humming cicada chorus over by the lotus-tiered water fountain.
I look upwards pondering the stillness, thoughts suspended like the clouds. My brain asks my eyes,
‘What colour is the sky?’
My ailing eyes falter.
‘Well, at this time of dusk, logically, it should be a shade of deepening blue.’
My brain likes logic, and quicker than nano-seconds, scans my childhood memory-bank to recall this particular hue. Maybe it is something like the indigo shades of Cézanne’s painting of Le Vase Bleu.
In a flash, brain asks eyes, ‘Please be more specific. No colour match found.’

I observe the internal dialog taking place, aware that eyes and brain are feeding information to each other, using brain logic and heart desire, to know what is before my eyes. But the vague information coming from faulty light sensitive cells at the back of my scarred retinas do not convey detailed or reliable messages to the organ of sight any more.

So I gaze candidly at the scene, to suggest any colour I may wish the sky to be. Like Monet,  I too am eager to capture a sense of the light dancing across the vast canvas of the skyline.
Do I see what is there – or do I only see things that my brain considers reasonable deductions of logic? A bit of both.

The internal dialog is still pondering what colour is now blanketing the evening sky as it turns from a light something, to a darker something. I smile as I watch the private slide show, ‘Pick a colour, any colour.’
But that is not completely true. The brain is waiting to correct itself. It has to be logical remember? There is no bright setting sun so that rules out the hotter shades of the colour spectrum: no vivid pinks, crimson yellows or orange chromes. The mildness of the day would suggest the sky be a mixture of warm greys swirling with a tinge of mauve-purple. Let’s imagine that. Ok, sounds good. Brain and eyes finally agree on this image.

I am happy to be seeing the ‘whatever’ it is I am seeing – amused by the relay of signals and mixing of colours in the brain. A much darker shadow draws my attention from skyline to fenceline. The deep green blob I know to be the blackwood tree, the soldier guardian of our back garden, keeps intruding eyes out of our personal space. I see the tree’s image as a  tall and wide dark something, towering upward to the night sky. A majestic shadow,  a huge blob over there by the trellis fence, her canopy  keeping out stares from behind open windows. Do inquisitive eyes peer at the blind gardener darting about on hot days, watering her plants and wearing very little. I forget that people can see and make a mental note to remember this.

The scent of sweet jasmine and sharp rosemary mingle in the calm night air. My toes tickle the thick carpet of buffalo grass as I walk with bare feet, taking in this serene landscape from every sensory fibre of my body. I love this enclosed garden – full of soft petals, perfumes, tasty leaves, snagging branches. Patrolling fingertips catch cheeky weeds as I feel the different textures of leaves and closed buds.
‘Hmm, are you a weed or a flower: intruder or friend?’
Feel it. Smell it. Remember it.
Sometimes I let the weeds grow because they feel so healthy and robust: I wait with eagerness for a bloom that is never meant to appear. Sometimes, I pull out the wrong plants, insignificant little things that I later remember were chosen seedlings, deprived of their purpose.

I cruise the garden beds, putting my face right into flowering blooms and make a mental note of everything. ‘Must come back here tomorrow, the grape-hyacinths are almost out…oh and remember, the coriander will go to seed if you forget to water it again…and oh, that’s right, the nasturtiums are about to flower…where did I plant the begonias?...drats, I missed the gazania flower again, she doesn’t stay out in the sunshine for more than a day...the lavender needs pruning, she looks like she is grafted on triffid stock...and I feel tiny round buttons forming on the lemon tree, must give her more water during her fruiting season…’

The distant sound of a light aircraft gliding across the sky distracts sensitive ears. I tilt my head towards the sound, pointing audio-antennea, like Hobbit-ears, and track the stereo effect: from far left, to the centre of the sky – and away to the far right. The bright staccato rhythms of the insect chorus have reached a deafening crescendo and dominate the sounds now in the night air. The sky has shifted through many shades in such a short time and my brain has to ask my eyes one more question.

‘Do you remember the evening stars?’
‘No, not really. Help me to imagine them again.’


1 comment:

Bee Williamson said...

I really like this new piece, it has a sense of wonderment and beauty. I know the garden, which I find is so vividly captured. a serene feeling emanates from your words. lovely! xx BB