From above the harbor, the sun reflecting off the water on the boathouse windows revealed a world of emanation that lies just below all that is physical. Swaying atop the Ferris wheel, I felt those windows open into a sea of shimmer. For me, this wasn’t an illusion or an alternate world to escape to, but a glimpse of the ineffable depth that lines the daily world we all move through.
It seems to me that the Impressionist painters, like Monet, Van Gogh, and Pissarro, tried to paint such openings wherever light let them glimpse the deeper world. They captured the shimmer of being in their magnificent attempts to paint light. Monet’s paintings of the Rouen Cathedral shimmer like these boathouse windows seen from the top of the Ferris wheel. As do Van Gogh’s wheat fields and cypress trees. As do Pissarro’s sunlit meadows.
This moment in Seattle was the culmination of different efforts that helped me see into the depth of things that day. First was the effort to outlast my heavy-heartedness and find my way, with Susan’s help, into the open. Then the effort to wait for the edges of things to line up: the Great Wheel had to rise above the day, the clouds needed to part, the sun needed to shine through, the waters needed to calm, the time of day needed to slow. And then, I had to be in the right position to see all the way through, the way you need to bend and close one eye to look through a hole in a fence.
The deeper world is always there, knowable and reachable. It is we who by turns miss it and stumble into it.