Sunday, 24 February 2013

Will o' the Wisps

A silent body of still water, early morning after a cold night, the frost smoke spiralling like plumes of white steam, rising to man height and drifting slowly, vaguely, as if urged on by willpower. It’s a climatic phenomenon that can be found on occasions, not rare, but unusual enough to warrant comment. What we encountered on that day might be an associated spectacle, only these were different.

A thick wet haze had descended onto the Puna, settled in with the daylight. Over a flat highland pampa of short, stunted grasses and wet-season standing ponds, yet the sun is not far away; an opalesque light pulses with the changing flow, the tidal surges of cloud. Suddenly the shroud lifts off from the ground, rising to a low ceiling, visibility stretches out to the severed, truncated hills on the perimeter. It’s then that two spirals of vapour form, tight columns of fast rotating, diaphanous mist, connecting floor to ceiling and appear to be no wider than a few hand spans. Then they're gone. Dissolved.

I’m glad we both saw theme at the same time, as without that corroboration I might have questioned their existence and my perception. Were they some misquote of the inner eye, to be placed  alongside some other phantasms I’ve experienced in the hills?

A lucid blue streak cracks the covering to my east, the sun soon dissolves the haze blanket and questions my memory.