We had been sailing all day, and we were tired. We were under motor at that point, since there really wasn't any wind left. The surface had died down to the point that it was just undulating rhythmically under us. I had just given up on reading my book because the light had finally gotten too low, so I marked the page and walked up to the bow, since Serifos had come into view to port.

The sun had set behind the island but the air was heavy with mist, so the whole area was effused with a muted, multicolored glow. As I looked over the rail at the sea, it seemed to me that what I saw was impossible, and that I must be dreaming it. Now, I have been in altered states, dreamed horrible and wonderful things when I was half-asleep, had moments of totally convincing deja vu, times when I wondered if I had seen or heard something right. But this time I was dead sober and wide awake, and I knew it. So when I saw what I saw I felt my knees shake, and I could only stare and wonder, stare in wonder.

The water had become unreal, as if someone had covered the Aegean with a layer of silk, and we were gliding through it. It wasn't just a sheen or a texture, it was also the colors that were hovering on top of it and changing with the undulation: muted purples and grays and blues and oranges. The transparency of the sea--which when the sun was overhead was so complete that you were sailing in a swimming pool--was gone. It became like mercury, or some other liquid metal. The wine-dark sea of Homer. Anything but water.

I couldn't hear the motor any more, nor could I hear the conversation of my friends talking by the stern. I don't even remember hearing the sound of the hull cutting its way through the water, but it must have been there. What is it they say...a moment of clarity? One moment of perfect beauty? What no one tells you about these moments is that after the world stops, the mythical third eye opens and the universe unfolds itself around you, all your power of description is lost with it. You feel the literal root of the word ecstasy: a state of emotion so intense that one is carried beyond rational thought. The Greek ekstasis: astonishment, distraction. The Latin extasis: terror.

To this day a part of me dismisses it as an extraordinary trick of the atmosphere, a rare and unique combination of ambient lights and shadows, but it was more than that. I'm not a spiritual person--I don't believe--but when people ask about the closest I have come I tell them that I saw God moving over the face of the waters.

This was a nodeshell. It is also the title of an instrumental piece by Moby, originally in his album Everything is Wrong, and re-released in his I Like To Score after it was used in the soundtrack for the move Heat. This is probably why you're here, so now I've told you. But the above really happened to me, and until I saw the title I had never known what to call it before.

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