Light Traces

Light Traces

Light Traces

Light Traces

Synopsis

What is the effect of light as it measures the seasons? How does light leave different traces on the terrain--on a Pacific Island, in the Aegean Sea, high in the Alps, or in the forest? John Sallis considers the expansiveness of nature and the range of human vision in essays about the effect of light and luminosity on place. Sallis writes movingly of nature and the elements, employing an enormous range of philosophical, geographical, and historical knowledge. Paintings and drawings by Alejandro A. Vallega illuminate the text, accentuating the interaction between light and environment.

Excerpt

The return of light in spring brings joy and hope to living things. For in one way or another light governs virtually everything of concern to them. It makes visible the things around them; it lets the presence of things and of natural elements be sensed in the most disclosive manner; and thereby it clears the space within which things can be most sensibly encountered and elements such as earth and sky can be revealed in their gigantic expanse. The coming and going of natural light also gives the measure of time, coming to bestow the day, retreating to give way to night. Light also measures out the seasons, not only by its intensity as the sun appears higher or lower in the sky, but also by variations that are not readily expressible in traditional categories: as with the crystal-clear sunlight of certain winter days when the scattered clouds appear in sharpest contour against a sky so blue that it exceeds all that can be said in the word blue.
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