The charged air of mid-July in the northern hemisphere creates states of mind that can be both nostalgic and surreal. Ray Bradbury always knew how to catch these. Listen:
Somewhere, a book said once, all the talk ever talked, all the songs ever sung, still lived, had vibrated way out in space and if you could travel to Far Centauri you could hear George Washington talking in his sleep or Caesar surprised at the knife in his back. So much for sounds. What about light then? All things, once seen, they didn’t just die, that couldn’t be. It must be then that somewhere, searching the world, perhaps in the dripping multiboxed honeycombs where light was an amber sap stored by pollen-fired bees, or in the thirty thousand lenses of the noon dragonfly’s gemmed skull you might find all the colors and sights of the world in any one year. Or pour one single drop of this dandelion wine beneath a microscope and perhaps the entire world of July Fourth would firework out in Vesuvius showers…
I love that ‘thirty thousand lenses of the noon dragonfly’s gemmed skull’ — it takes me instantly to the dragonfly I saw hovering over plants in my backyard this weekend, with a background vista of trees so full that they cut off all sight of other houses as they rose on the hill, so that the deck out back seemed enclosed by forest. The evening air hummed. A year ago a similar mood was on me when I wrote about Bradbury’s Green Town, Illinois, the fictionalized town of his birth and the inspiration for Dandelion Wine. Once again the mood signals it’s time for a summer break.
Centauri Dreams will be back on Thursday the 25th. I wish I could tell you I was headed out for exotic territories, but in fact a number of commitments — some of them space-related but most not — will occupy me, and the break will give me a chance to get to things I’ve been putting off for too long, including work on some longer-form writing projects. See you soon, then, and I hope you find time for a break of your own. Even when travel isn’t possible, long green walks through the imagination still are.