18 October 2010
Just as the darkness of a given night may suggest infinity, it can also provide an illusional containment. Sometimes at night we are encased in a cap of blackness, whose size is only determined by borders of buildings, lights and trees. Tonight on my walk, however, a mass of checker-patterned clouds swept slowly over the dark sky dome. Consistently patterned from one horizon to the next, one could see the breadth of the sky and its enormity. I felt so small gazing up at their perfectly pockmarked formations, with billowing contours held softly together by the moon’s light. It gave my gaze a reason, especially in the city. To take the sky into and within my eye, I had to turn my body and crane my neck and release a deep white-warm sigh into the chilly air – as I felt for a moment defeated underneath such a presence. The city sustains its own wonderful lights and lives, but in doing so it overwhelms the pointillist clusters of natural spots of light which a night sky always comprises, reminding us of how “big” it truly is. So when these far-reaching cloud sheets gracefully crest the horizon and spend time above our heads at night, the city lights help us to see their beauty ; and may we also remember the endlessness of the sky’s shape, for we cannot see the stars that guide us.