Every shooting star you’ve ever seen, scudding across the sky at the same time. Every distant summer thunderhead, pulsing with silent, harmless light, rolling over your head in succession. The flicker of every candle flame you’ve ever watched to the end of the wick. Every campfire you’ve stared into embers. The slow, unhurried dawn of the first day you ever knew you were in love. The wistful heartbreak of the red sunset on your last day of vacation. A bullfighter’s cape, in slow motion, in an arena in the sky.
A jellyfish, without the sting, dancing iridescent over the ocean floor. That first moment, at the ballet, when the house lights have darkened and the curtain flies, sequins and swans reflecting the ambient light. Lying on a cool wooden floor in a puddle of warm sun, with white silk curtains blowing in the springtime breeze. The spilling light of a full, full moon, in gentle waves lapping an empty lakeshore. Staring up the shimmering side of the tallest building that man could never make. A wooden swing under a weeping willow in a summer dress and bare feet.
The sparkles on top of fresh snow when the sun hits it at an angle. The cascade of the largest waterfall. The mirrored arc of a triple rainbow with its scent of just-passed rain. The sway of the cellist, deep into the andante. The dress of the Flamenco. The shoes of the Tango. The hips of the salsera from Dominica. The hair of the Navajo. Starlings in flight. A fly-fisherman casting toward the hatch.
It’s all of those things but bigger. It’s hanging over your head and reaching down toward you, painting the depth of the atmosphere in three dimensions, in a way the sun and moon never could. It’s great fingers of energy wrapping your sky, yours alone, and extending toward you, as if to brush the hair from your forehead. Sometimes, the dance is so slow, like the change from mauve to purple at the end of the sunset. Sometimes, it’s brilliantly fast, like October clouds blown from the face of a full harvest moon. Sometimes, it’s a snaking strand of green, like a fat rolling contrail behind an intercontinental jetliner. Sometimes, it’s a milky whiteness, descending like a cloud cap over a high mountain.
Sometimes, it’s like sound moving up and out through the pipes, from center to edge, from bottom to top, if the sound were painted fluorescent green, and if, at the crescendo came a brilliant purple, lighting the top of the fastest, highest notes. I swear I can almost feel it, in the sterile coldness of the dark supra-arctic night, like a faint radiant heat, just touching my cheekbones, just under my eyes. I can hear it, like a television with the sound off, turned on in another room. Like the electricity moving through high-tension power lines. Like the static on a wool sweater, the way it moves the tiny hairs on my face and the tiny bones in my ears. Like that ozonic tension in the summer sky just before the crackle of lightning. And I swear I can smell it, like air and ocean and cold time.