Nocturne

by James Hamilton



T ravel is circumscribed, as we now know only too well — it means what the Romans must have meant, that our travels have strict, even drawn, boundaries around them.

Three weeks ago, in the small hours, I took a very short journey, what's called a 'noctule'. That's nothing to do with bats, nocturnal, cricket or Chinese, but a journey that's common in men over seventy. Ask a doctor.

At about half past one, when the moon was full, moonlight shone directly into our bathroom. On the windowsill is a glass sphere beside an elegantly-profiled marble head — you are never alone in the shower in our house. The shadow of the head was cast on the shower-glass, creating a pale human silhouette fuzzed by limey streaks. Through the glass the moonlight travelled, and the marble's shadow landed on the mirror. Then away it bounced onto white tiles, and then, by optical wizardry made more marvellous in the murmurs of the moonlit hour, it reflected back onto the glass sphere, and expelled therefrom a segment of the arc of a rainbow. This was itself refracted through the shower-glass, lost its shape, and landed like a maple leaf in autumn on the quarry-tiled floor.

Moon, marble, mirror, murmurs, marvels, maple, memory. Keep minds open; keep reflecting.

SEE ALSO by James Hamilton:
In Praise of Cow Parsley
An Extraordinary Journey
Nocturne
Blossom Fortnight
Pavements and Lids
There's Much Yet to Celebrate

James Hamilton is a resident of the village of Kidlington, Oxfordshire. He is a curator, writer and lecturer, who entered the University of Manchester 1966 to read Mechanical Engineering, and emerged in 1971 with a degree in History of Art.

James is also a biographer and has written on Turner, Faraday, and Gainsborough.

Visit James' website here.

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