Evening in the Country

21 February 2010


I find myself again in rural Clatsop County, where it was a beautiful day and a beautiful evening. The dogs and I went for a walk at dusk and I tried to capture some of the ambiance of the moment with some photographs. There is always much more, and much more detail, than any camera can reveal. And my camera gives only the digital equivalent of snapshots. Better than nothing, of course. A snapshot is at very least a memorialization of the moment, if not the capture of the moment itself. The moon is half full, and now that it is fully dark outside the moon is bright enough that the stars are dimmed in comparison. I cannot see the Milky Way tonight; that is a sight that no camera can capture.

Nothing quite captures the moment, of course, but one hopefully gets a sense, however imperfectly, of what is essentially ineffable. One takes a picture, or writes a few words, or even writes a piece of music inspired by natural beauty, and one can do no more than this. To produce something so inspired is essentially a gesture toward the beauty but can’t be considered to have captured that beauty. As I wrote recently in The Mind’s Singular Function and Purity of Mind is to Think One Thing, there is an chasm that separates the object of inspiration and the consequence of inspiration. Here there can be no identity.

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