Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The moon and the hawthorn

Outside the hotel room in the city where I now sit, soft rain is falling in the sulphur glow of streetlights. Buses stutter through the dark of evening; the city is alive with movement.
I remember walking across the fields around my home on a day last week. It was an evening of chill brilliance, when the colour had bled from the sky, like the chromatography experiments I recalled from my schooldays; the blot of black ink in the centre of the disc of filter paper, its texture coarse and grainy like the skin of my thumbs. The ink diffused slowly to brown and orange and the red of dried blood, as though some strange alchemy could turn the workaday ink which stained our fingers into a rich and exotic mineral. That was how the sky looked on my evening walk; rich and exotic, flushed with colours I could not name.
And on this evening of many-coloured skies, I saw the moon snagged in the branches of a hawthorn tree, and thought of the inadequacy of language to express moments of pure, etched brilliance such as these.

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