28 November 2014

The world is rearranged by silhouettes

There are times when we wonder if things are as they really seem.   Think of something. Think of just one thing.  Let’s say…hmmm…a coconut tree you can see from your window.  If there’s no coconut tree, think of whatever tree you can see from your window.  If there are no trees then think of whatever you can see, even if it is a blank wall. 

Now here’s an exercise.  Look out of the window the moment you wake up (it is better if it is before sunrise).  Remember what you see.  Then look again when the first light touches the world around you and of course the tree (or whatever it is) that’s outside your window.  Return to your window from time to time throughout the day.  Does it look the same?  Are the colors the same?  Check out if the shape is the same.  Remember that things look and feel different when they are perfectly still and when they are moving in the wind.  If it’s a light breeze the leaves will rustle but if it is stormy weather, rain and wind will make things dance. 

What is the color of that thing outside your window when the sun moves over the horizon?  What does it look like at dusk?  Look again just before you go to bed.  Same? Different?  And if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night, look out of your window again.  

The leaves of a giant mango tree look so different in the middle of the night.  If there’s a bit of moonlight, it gives a silver edge to leaves, branches and the tree itself.  If there’s only faint light because it is a cloudy night, there won’t be silver, but you will still find patterns.   

Nights are about silhouettes.  The leaves of the mango tree from a certain distance will look like an intricate patter in lace.  The leaves of the kohomba will look like different.  A different pattern in lace.  A different embroidery. 

Night removes depth from objects.  Things merge.  Roofs with treetops, bridges with buildings, houses with houses, walls and tree trunks, wires and vines.  You see things in bunches.  And in the bunching, there are patterns and images.  There are faces and animals, dragons and gargoyles.  There are angels too. 

Things are not the same when the light that fall on them changes in intensity.  Things are not the same when they are moved by breezes of different strengths.  Things are not the same when we see them at different times. 

And at night, all things change and the world seems to have been rearranged and renamed.  And it is a beautiful thing. 


 * This is the ninth article in a series I am writing for the JEANS section of 'The Nation'.  The series is for children. Adults consider yourselves warned...you might re-discover a child within you! 

Other articles in this series
How would you paint the sky?
It is cool to slosh around
You can compose your own music
Pebbles are amazing things
You can fly if you want to
The happiest days of our lives
So what do you want to do with the rain?
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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Although the series is meant for kids, I think it's valid for adults too. The message can be embraced by anyone. Beautiful as always...

Uditha Devapriya said...

It touches the child in all of us, for sure!