[beauty] compels awe and awe/is well known for its capacity to silence
I went at dinner, summer evening before nightshade and the persistent red eye of the sun, a stoplight above the foothills in the white haze of smoke and ozone of a year. I pulled into the gravel parking lot for the southside of the reservoir, the “wild” side where speed boats and water bikes don’t dare venture past the signs for low water, for hidden objects. This time the riparian cusp between river and woodland, between marsh and field where the rangers lead out plodding strings of horses had shrunk so much that the ridge at the knife edge of trees rose above the water like a fin. What means the most to me here? Just a few days earlier, I had watched a young boy paddle his kayak after his father, yelling into the very trees where I, too, had paddled after everything —kingfisher and white-billed coots and the rookeries of egrets. I thought of Talbot who lamented upon seeing his first “photogenic drawings” how they were “destined to have such a brief existence,” and how beautiful, he said, the light made them. And so, in silence, I watched the long-boned heron.
Note: Talbort, a scientist and linguist in the 1800s, used nitrate of silver to create an image on paper. Sunlight on the paper would turn the nitrate of silver dark, while the shadow of the image would remain white. He, at first, could only view his images by candlelight— daylight destroyed the image. He finally hit upon the combination of a salt solution on the paper that sometimes transformed the “shadow-image” into shades of lilac. He discovered, too, that a wash of iodine turned the image a “very pale primrose yellow,” which, when set near the heat of a fire, turned a ”full gandy yellow.” Cold, the image returned to light.