Photo essay: Sublime Sublimation
Posted by danspira
Sublime (adj.) 1580s, “expressing lofty ideas in an elevated manner,” from Middle French sublime (15c.), or directly from Latin sublimis “uplifted, high, borne aloft, lofty, exalted, eminent, distinguished,” possibly originally “sloping up to the lintel,” from sub “up to” + limen “lintel, threshold, sill” (see limit (n.)).The sublime (n.) “the sublime part of anything, that which is stately or imposing” is from 1670s.
– from the Online Etymology Dictionary
Giant snowbanks pile up with geological strata of precipitation and street grime. Their surfaces evaporate directly into thin air, leaving behind fantastic fractal landscapes.
Freeze. Thaw. Plow. Evaporate. Melt. Shovel. Freeze. Snow. Evaporate again.
The sun carves sculptures out of ice and air.
“Sublimation is part of the royal art where the true gold is made. (…) It is not a voluntary and forcible channeling of instinct into a spurious field of application, but an alchymical transformation for which fire and prima materia are needed.”
– Carl Jung
The snow and ice crystals capture dirt and then evaporate, forming a crusty layer of grit that compresses back down into the earth. As we live and breathe, so do we compress our experiences and impulses into acts of creation.
Some of these snowbanks are like dirty air filters, overused through a long winter.
It’s the pure stuff that sublimates. The rest of it lingers and melts into oil slick.
Come on, it’s time to put this winter away, already.
Darkness begone. Spring forward into the light.