Quiet Light

Here we are in the dark season, get up in the dark, get home in the dark. The sun maybe rises, or rather maybe you see it, depending on the Northwest monsoons.

I was recently looking through some photographs and ran across one I might have taken at, say, 19 to 21. A summer day in Southern Oregon, the Siskiyou foothills, with light falling through madrone onto a curving country two-lane, and just enough haze in the air to cut the light into beams. Suddenly, I was there, standing on the road’s shoulder, massive old Canon SLR in hand. Or maybe it was that wonderful Yashica Lynx rangefinder I had. My God, what a crisp, sharp lens that had on it (though the built-in light meter was for shit). I remembered that light. That quiet. How you could stand in the road to take a picture and have no fear that a car would come along because you’d hear it long before you’d see it. I couldn’t remember exactly when it was taken, but I could remember taking it, the memory potent, overhwelming.

So I figured I’d look around, scan it as an illustration for the blog. Can’t find it. It’s vanished. I held it in my hands just a few days ago; now it’s like it never existed. Just as that time has passed, that place has changed. I don’t want to go back. But I do want to stand in that quiet light, and feel the world again as a photograph waiting to be taken.

I can’t find that picture. It bothers me.

About Steve Patterson

Steve Patterson has written over 50 plays, with works staged in Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Tampa, and other U.S. cities as well as in Canada and New Zealand. His works include: Waiting on Sean Flynn, Next of Kin, Farmhouse, Malaria, Shelter, Altered States of America, The Continuing Adventures of Mr. Grandamnus, Bluer Than Midnight, Bombardment, Dead of Winter, and Delusion of Darkness. In 2006, his bittersweet Lost Wavelengths was a mainstage selection at Portland Center Stage's JAW/West festival, and, in 2008, won the Oregon Book Award (he also was an OBA finalist in 1992 and 2002). In 1997, he won the inaugural Portland Civic Theatre Guild Fellowship for his play Turquoise and Obsidian. View all posts by Steve Patterson

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