Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Ramble - Splendor

Splendor is a word dating from the early fifteenth century at the very least, and perfect for a golden morning in August's closing pages. The word has its roots in the Latin splendēre, the late Middle English and archaic French splendure meaning to shine, and NOT in a quiet or understated way. To be robed in splendor is to shimmer and sparkle and glisten, to be lit from within as if from a sacred source. That which is truly splendid captures our attention and holds us rapt in its enfolding light.

Splendor is the old maple tree across the road, cavorting in the morning wind against a background of spangled bokeh (which comes from the Japanese boke (暈け or ボケ) meaning blur  or haze, or boke-aji (ボケ味), meaning "blur quality").  I often hanker for bokeh when wandering around with the camera, but I seldom manage it when actually trying to do so.  A few days ago, I wasn't trying at all, and there it was in a serendipity capture of the old maple tree doing its thing and going for the gold early - very early this year because of the drought.  At the time, my thoughts were on the waning moon overhead and not on matters of focus, aperture and depth of field, so the bokeh was a happy accident. I was amused to discover a while ago that bokeh is sometimes used to describe a state of mental haze, confusion or senility. Now there is food for thought...

Splendor is the roses of late summer blooming in the garden behind the little blue house in the village - their color, perfume and velvety dew-dappled texture a few minutes after sunrise.  It's the rich cream at their verges moving inward through shades of rosy pink and apricot to a perfectly cupped golden heart. When the roses pause for breath in their exuberant flowering, there is the splendid purple of Michaelmas daisies (again, early this year), the scarlet of late bergamot along the old wooden fence, the Autumn Joy sedum morphing from pale pink to luscious burgundy as it matures.  Always, there are chrysanthemums in burnished tawny hues.

In August, this old world doesn't just shine or bloom or cultivate splendor.  It dazzles the eyes, and a little of the dazzle lodges in my elderly sconce as I wander about with the camera.  Oh, the light of sunrise in August over turning trees - now there is splendor beyond expression.

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