The heat is searing off drying grass, granite rocks and fragrant gums in the summer today and I'm watching that shimmer characteristic of Australian summers rise and distort the vista when I get down low enough to the ground and feel her almost groan in anticipation of not too distant rains.
It's the third year here stewarding on my mountain and a combination of pandemic, lockdowns, geographic distance from friends & family & my tendency to introversion have ensured my hermitage provided me a great deal of time indeed to watch, sit, listen, walk and muse endlessly on many tangents of thought and experience.
One strikingly new experience has been an awareness of endless movement. Everything moves here...
Wind sways over the grass seas, sometimes screams through the leaves of every tree, each with a different song of response.
Rains when they come move differently in every storm and flow down new pathways depending on direction, intensity and interruption.
The river moves and eddies in her ever changing patterns.
Almost endless skies fill and empty of clouds.
Sunrises and sunsets creep every dawn and dusk across the east and west horizons throwing light across my workshop in always changing density and effect.
Even the rocks and trees move.
Sometimes on the stillest of days you can hear the creaking and crash of branches and whole trees as they reach their limit of endurance and change position with dramatic effect.
Unique straight edged stress lines in ancient lichen covered granite even reveal a wave like pattern of slippage and stability across my mountain when I look closely enough.
My mountain herself is always endlessly slowly moving and changing.
My life spirit moves with it all too...emotions, dreams, desires, despair and delight.
Now I've long known that old saying...change is the only constant but here on my mountain my senses have been keenly sharpened to it.
What's all this got to do with glass?
Ever wondered why in old buildings the glass panels are kind of rippled and thicker towards the bottom and why the view is somehow even more beautiful because of that?
Does glass, like my unforgiving endless rocks here also move?
Well yes and no...but I will get to that a bit later.
My passion for glass has held strong and true since this amazing mesmerising medium literally saved my life slowly rebuilding me in new and utterly unexpected ways after a prolonged workplace trauma (think Weinstein but an Aussie version) had reduced me from senior business executive to a babbling brain fogged barely beyond baby like form.
Having to be so fully present to learn a manual craft from scratch (pardon the pun) meant I had to remain in the present moment as much as possible which gave my overwhelmed brain a chance to rest between periods of extreme hyper-vigilance. Even now years and years later I still sometimes have to gently thank my brain for its service in keeping me alive but ask it to go take a tea break and let life hold me up for a while, after all I'm still here so it's all ok.
What I created along the way captivated me even more as the presence of light constantly changing throughout the day and night meant the work took on an ever changing mood.
Light and glass seem to go together and play with each other like those winds across the sea of grass.
Now light is a peculiar thing in some ways not dissimilar to glass in that according to current understanding it behaves as it it were two seemingly different states. It acts as both a wave (there's that movement again) and a particle.
But what's similar about glass?
Well glass is an amorphous solid and as far as I am aware it's the only naturally occurring amorphous solid at that making it utterly unique and kind of magical, to me anyway, which is why I reckon it likes to play with light.
You see glass is neither a solid nor a liquid at room temperature. Glass is often called a rigid liquid. Its disorganised molecular structure is neither gaseous, nor liquid nor crystalline and this gives it some unique properties apart from how much it loves to play with light...yeah I've got a thing for it and can't seem to let it go.
So back to those old windows and the subtly distorted view they offer up so beautifully.
Did the glass really move over time and slip downwards? I'm afraid not.
The smooth flat glass we are so used to now was only developed in the mid 1950's where molten glass is poured over a pool of molten tin offering up an almost perfectly flat face and to my mind a far less aesthetically pleasing effect. Prior to this sheet glass was often formed from blowing large bubbles of molten glass then slicing them open while hot and laying them flat resulting in all the amazing variations available as a result.
There's so much more amazing properties to glass but that might do for today.