>think of light as water


A length of black velvet is pinned to the white board in the front of my photography class. Light falling on black is different than black reflecting light. Until every student understands this, Mr. B plans to leave the velvet up.
Through our classroom windows, autumn has begun. I can’t resist snapping its photo while I listen to talk about F Stops and shutter speeds — when one doubles, the other halves. I write this in the front portion of my journal and then quickly flip to the back where I keep notes on poetry. I know Mr. B is about to say something brilliant again, in his Irish brogue, and I want to capture every word.
Think of light as water. Imagine filling your bucket with light.
He pauses to scan the room. Are all his students as captivated as he’d like them to be? Last week he spoke about the camera lens and I wasn’t prepared for the poetry: Each time light passes through glass, it loses resolution. After he said that, I imagined he understood about tribulations in my life.
Somewhere in Germany glass is cooling. It is cooling very slowly, he tells us, as he roams about the room, glancing at the photos each of us have on our computer screens. Mr. B stops to look at my screen, nodding at my photo of the pulley and the rope. I like to think it is my shot of quiet tension, but it could be years before I understand enough to write a poem about the dust and fray.  Lately, I’ve not been able to write poetry, but I have been taking notes.
Mr. B weaves his way to the front of the room. He answers questions about compression and histograms before returning to the story about that German glass. The best glass, he says, takes twenty-two years to cool. Outside our classroom, four lanes of traffic suddenly race by. He pauses to let the noise subside. I flip to the back of my journal and carefully record his words.

About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

7 responses to “>think of light as water

  1. >Incubation, tempering, patience (!)…in my reporter days one of the photographers I worked with was explaining something about the camera he was using, letting someone focus and prepare to shoot. I remember him saying, "Infinity goes the opposite way." Your notes will lead you, I have no doubt.

  2. >I so wanted to believe that glass is just a slow moving liquid, and that's why old windows are thicker at the bottom. But alas, facts put a pin to my balloon.

  3. >That pulley and the frayed rope say so much.The intensity of your words never fails to stimulate me.

  4. >Hi Sherry, Thank you for this post. It quietly lets me into the classroom with you, and reminds me of the influences we experience, in subtle ways, and how we respond to them. Keep writing those notes. Your instructor sounds like an inspiration, in more ways than photography- but, of course, photography is a mode of seeing, just like poetry. "The best glass, he says, takes twenty-two years to cool." ~ I want to know more."Each time light passes through glass, it loses resolution." ~ definitely poetic, extending beyond the obvious, and its connection to photography

  5. >thank you for taking me into this room with you. i can hear the brogue and feel the frayed rope. the velvet. i am trying to imagine light as water…somewhere in germany glass is coolingthere is a poem in there, sherry, just waiting to come out.

  6. >marylinn, i like the idea of incubation. "Infinity goes the opposite way" is wild, and offers us an opportunity to consider everything we *know* as something entirely new all over again. good to hear from you.kass, you'd be good to sit with in the back of this class- there is so much to consider and it is always good to hear when the pulley and rope stirs someone besides me.mike, not for the first time did you *go* where i went on this subject. in researching more about the 22 year glass process i learned the truth about thick glass . .. and my balloon lost some air also. i used to entertain the notion that we could turn old glass panels upside down and watch (watch? or feel?) the glass slowly flow over the next 100 years. now i try to think that we are looking through the same glass others in 1862 looked through. that's rather cool to consider.hi annie, your comments offer more to consider (how many small influences cross our paths each day and how many times do we respond?). regarding the 22 year process- the company is named schott. in trying to learn more about them i ended up learning all sorts of things about sand and silica and modern technology. i'll never be the same again- am filled with wonder.amanda, so cool that you feel that sort of magic in the statement (somewhere in germany glass is cooling). it also makes me think about the pulley and the rope- which was a photo taken inside my sister's barn. how many times have i been out there bringing in the sheep or running the dogs, how many times has my son been out there baling hay, or my daughter mending fence- and yet all the while through these years, that pulley has been hanging from that rope. what is going on now as we speak to one another that we have yet to tune to? (see, when i talk about it, i ruin it….but yes, someday there will be a poem that won't ruin it!)imagine a bucket of light.

  7. >Hi Sherry.Beautiful.Glad to be able to stop back in. I'm imagining that bucket today. Thanks. I relate to your struggle to write a poem that doesn't ruin the image your trying to capture. I think every poem I've written so far has yet to reach that perfection? I think it may be impossible…but I keep trying.

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