“The sky is covered with grey cloud;—not rain-cloud, but a dry black veil, which no ray of sunshine can pierce; partly diffused in mist, feeble mist, enough to make distant objects unintelligible, yet without any substance, or wreathing, or colour of its own,” he writes. Ruskin describes a continuous spell of bad weather accompanied by a ceaseless “wind of darkness” that feverishly drags smoke-clouds that blanch the sun, with black fog and rainfalls that rot grass, flowers, and fruits. “By the plague-wind every breath of air you draw is polluted.” This time, the observed weather was not the consequence of a volcanic eruption (Krakatoa erupted in 1883 and Ruskin dates the first sightings of the plague-cloud to 1871). Instead, it was the first visible effect of anthropic action on European skies, the first clouds created by humanity and the Industrial Revolution.
Where I am right now it is as though the world were on fire ... the air is full of smoke and ash ... we are on alert for evacuation ... I needed this album right now ... water ... water ... so beautiful ... so utterly necessary where I am right now. This is water for my mind ... Thank you.
The gardener digs in another time, without past or future, beginning or end. A time that does not cleave the day with rush hours. Lunch breaks, the last bus home. As you walk in the garden you pass into this time – the moment of entering can never be remembered. Around you the landscape lies transfigured. Here is the Amen beyond the prayer.
"Ambient Music must be able to accomodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting."
-Eno, in the liner notes to Music for Airports
Imagine a type of writing so hard to define its very name should be something like: an effort, an attempt, a trial. Surmise or hazard, followed likely by failure. Imagine what it might rescue from disaster and achieve at the levels of form, style, texture and therefore (though some might cavil at "therefore") at the level of thought. Not to mention feeling. Picture if you can its profile on the page: from a solid spate of argument or narrative to isolated promontories of text, these composing in their sum the archipelago of a work, or a body of work. The page an estuary, dotted at intervals with typographical buoys or markers. And all the currents or sediments in between: sermons, dialogues, lists and surveys, small eddies of print or whole books construed as single essays. A shoal or school made of these. Listen for the possible cadences this thing might create: orotund and authoritative; ardent and fizzing; slow and exacting to the point of pain or pleasure; halting, vulnerable, tentative; brutal and peremptory; a shuffling or amalgam of all such actions or qualities. An uncharted tract or plain. And yet certain ancient routes allow us to pilot our way through to the source, then out again, adventuring.
-Brian Dillon, Essayism
One egg's lower half transformed
And became the earth below,
And its upper half transmuted
And became the sky above;
From the yolk the sun was made,
Light of day to shine upon us;
From the white the moon was formed,
Light of night to gleam above us;
All the colored brighter bits
Rose to be the stars of heaven
And the darker crumbs changed into
Clouds and cloudlets in the sky.
“If I knew, I would speak. I know nothing. I guess much.”
—Ged (Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore)
“If there was only one of anything, it would be the end of the world.”
—Ursula K. Le Guin, Always Coming Home
"Do you know what people did in the old days when they had secrets they didn't want to share? They'd climb a mountain, find a tree, carve a hole in it, whisper the secret into the hole and cover it up with mud. That way, nobody else would ever learn the secret…”
—Tak (2046, dir. Wong Kar Wai)
"Evil arises in the honored belief that history can be tidied up, brought to a sensible conclusion. It is evil to act as though the past is bringing us to a specifiable end.” —James P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games
“Red is rare in the landscape. It gains its strength through its absence. Momentarily, in an ecstatic sunset, the great globe of the sun sinking below the horizon … then it’s gone. I’ve never seen the legendary green flash. Remember, great sunsets are the consequences of violence and cataclysm, Krakatoa and Popocatepetl.”
—Derek Jarman, Chroma