If I were to go blind I think I’d like to pause on them, and reflect. They might be a means, in the mind, of saying something about visual beauty, which can be too much there to ponder successfully, in the line of direct and available sight.

Of course by “successfully” I mean “to my satisfaction”. Aestheticians will have resolved the enigma thousands of times in the past and will go on doing so thousands of times in the future. However, I have an idea how I might begin.

How is it that the spectrum of sunlight, broken to sky-blue and to cloud-white, can offer a notion of harmony? And of course it’s nothing, really, to do with peace. A raging storm can be – is – beautiful. Vyasa, the author of the Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’, finds beauty in the blood and gore of a battlefield, with the eye of a detached artist summoning us to the scene.

It’s something to do with contrast. It’s the white against the blue – or indeed dark clouds against the lightning – that can pluck at the mainstream of awareness, spur on a ripple of attention, lead up to an encounter. A sense of a textural difference, too – and what textures! – draws on a faculty for wonder, that no doubt it has helped to develop. Together with the sunset and the sunrise, the sight and passage of clouds must have done something to humanise the species early on.

It’s something to do with motion. Clouds are here and gone. As not only are we but significantly, our thoughts. From birth till death the mind is never still.

It’s something to do with the spirit that recognises and engages with the circumstance of life. What we find beautiful has allowed us a deeper engagement.

In blindness – after sight – one might or might not be closer to a mystery by reflection, by not being too much there. Perhaps the idea of the transient beneath or within the everlasting has something to do with it. I daresay I’ve got it all wrong as usual. With respect, then, to the blind, I’ll take my head out of the clouds. Right now it’s too vivid and fresh a day to be thinking.

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