I can recall this discussion, a long time back, decades ago, about the concept of oysterlight. And it took me a long time to think about, to understand, what that meant. The light of the oyster. Oyster’d light. Cloister light?

It was with my mother, and Kenneth Callahan. And it was out at the coast, some workshop, his shore and dune bound studio — some exposure of hers, to them. Kenneth and his wife. She was the finisher. She’d tell him when things were done. So too, the art of Fuchs — his wife, the finisher. So too, Picasso. And others. Enough, you’re done now!

There was a talk about that light. And it goes two ways. There is, if you look at the oystershell on the beach, a quality of white that lies in the shell. Take yourself closer to it, bring your eye to it, and you can see it.

There. The gauzy light, reflecting luminosity –inside the oyster, white that isn’t light, it’s greylight, warm light. Bright light, that’s behind — and beneath the grey.


And in the northwest, that idea of that kind of light, it’s something else. When sun is shining brightly above the coursing clouds, stratus mists hang low, and you have that luminous brightness, haze lit, that is the character of the oysterlight.

Like this, found:


Looking out, north, you can see that light. The farther reaches of the shores, diffused in the mist of forget fullness. And you can see, but you can’t. It’s bright. But it’s dark.

You can see it to the ocean’s mist. Or the farmland, hazed:


Or misted in the roiling clouds, caught against the mountains, churning — the luminous pearl, beneath:


And sometimes, finally, the sun appears, and the oysterlight burns off — and you can see it receding, moving away. Heading out. Brilliant scintillation appear, as sun shows itself.



Oysterlight — that drives some people crazy. Because, in the full form of its being, it’s a half light, mist light. So you don’t know what’s there, what’s not. You have to dream, more

For me, it’s not madness-inducing — it’s merely a form of that gradient of luminescence. An increment.

Not me, driven to distraction, by it — that light.

It’s merely what’s showing now — that light, this moment.

tsg | decatur island