Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Master of Northern Light

It has been over 100 degrees in Dallas for over 11 days. When I first arrived here I couldn't bear it. The heat, the suburban sprawl, the miniature trees, the lack of shadow. I escaped to Northern Minnesota to Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle Keith's island. To remember. To remember them and drink in the majestic pines and cool air and pure cold lakes of Northern Minnesota. And the shadow.

It was my friend Ronda Sophia who reminded me that I was closer to the equator here and the sun shining directly overhead would explain the lack of shadow. I initially found it weird and strange, the missing shadow, everything bleached out like an over-developed photograph. As with all things I've adapted. To the heat and sprawl and missing shadow.

But I haven't quite forgotten. In part because I am ruminating on Sven Nyquist, the cinematographer who was known as the master of northern light as well as Bergman's collaborator. He died two years ago shortly after working with Liv Ullman on her production of "Kristin Lavransdatter". I wish my life had been different. Rather than spending it chasing words I wish that I had been chasing the light.

I think of Sven Nykvist, that embodiment of the Scandinavian soul, of northern light and white nights, and somehow I'm simply glad that sitting in Dallas and baking I once knew another world all together.

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