Because I cannot unsee a certain image in silver and indigo, and cannot paint it except in words. Because I am, at last, reading Kenobi. Because John Jackson Miller is a worker of beautiful and heart-rending miracles. Because, as every writer knows, there is a certain terrible catharsis in weeping ink for tears, in crying onto paper.
She stands alone on the headland, staring out across the wind-lashed sea, as Eurus from the east stirs up the long silver-grey grass behind her, shaking out the dew and the solitary line of invading footprints, making every slender stem dance with him in turn. Below her, in the deep blue shadow of the land, the hungry ocean snaps at the cliff’s white-chalked heels, nibbling only because it cannot yet leap up and swallow whole. Scudding across the sky, chased by some unseen dragon, dark clouds suddenly become visible as they are struck from behind with argent moonlight, and submit to fate, making of their fragile intangibility veils to shade the cold glory of the moon, though, like Zeus, becoming in the act so bright they almost need veils for themselves.
Tiring of the grasses, the wind comes to play with her hair, gathering it up, flinging it in a gleaming dark streamer against the sky, roughly drawing its strands across her face to make true the adage nobody can see the wind. But he is fickle, Eurus, and decides that the girl will be allowed to watch, if not him, then at least his midnight frolic. The clouds are thickening around the moon as Selene gathers her robes about her, and the veil is modest now where before it tantalized. The silverlit cliff on which the girl stands returns to darkness, where every tree and stone and blade of grass hurls an impenetrable, crisp shadow out behind it, mixing together until the edges run together in a deep swathe of ink across the land.
Only the sea remains silvered, and that only in the uncertain chiaroscuro way permitted by the shifting swells, darker at the base of each rise than the pit of Tartarus, rushing up to a spray of molten silver at the crest of the wave. As the sky darkens with the coming storm, so the sea brightens, until, at the first growl of distant thunder, it is one boundless expanse of sparkling diamonds under a black velvet cover. The lightning when it comes does strange things to this jeweler’s display laid on for Olympus, highlighting here a point where the sky is all but violet, there with a gilded spear stabbing vainly at the blackness of the firmament.
And then the rain begins, a shower that rapidly becomes a deluge, roaring, surrounding, making the air hard to breathe, thundering over sea and land and brink between, and surging the restless sea into deceptively convincing solidity. At last, wonderfully, the silver disc of the moon reappears through the clouds, illuminating a highway across the ocean to… where? The girl leaves her vigil, slips down a winding path that crisscrosses the face of the cliff, waits for an instant poised at the curling white rim between the coarse sand of the beach and the yielding border of Poseidon’s domain, foot already hovering over the first step of the argent highway, but before her journey can begin, the road is gone, swallowed up in the churning sea as the moon, suddenly shy, glides away again into the dark hangings of her chambers.
Dripping dull diamonds from hands and cheeks and edges of garments, hair and clothes heavy with the bounty of the heavens, undeterred by the inclement weather, the girl on the beach is still again, watching, waiting. For what? Perhaps even she does not know.