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.