Modulation: The spirit of the mists

We had a brief summer rain today. I was a bit taken back, stepping out of the office for a quick breath of fresh air. The color of the world had changed, subtly but pointedly. Saturated is an interesting word. One describes color as “saturated” when it is made rich and and full and vibrant. And the ground is saturated by the life-giving water of the rains. An amusing confluence that a world saturated with water is likewise saturated in color. Indeed the color around me, of the grass and the pavement, the brick and the bark, was all saturated.

The rain had been and gone, but it left pools behind. The pavement, baked under the August sun, breathed out white vapors. As ghosts they swirled around my feet and rose up to meet me. But the most exquisite thing of it all was the movement. Winds, eddies, currents of air and drafts shaped the motion before me. They themselves directed by forces as grand as the earths rotation and as minute as the leaves and blades of grass which they blew against. All this directed the spirit of the mists. Laws of physics, at once predictable and imperceptible guided their paths.

These summery mists were a sight. But it was the spirit that moved them that truly made them beautiful. And in this, I must admit my amusement. We seek out the sweetest sounding oscillators and filters with a critical ear. But we often forget that alone, they are like corpses. They must be animated, tickled and teased into motion, goaded to dance and play before us. Without a spirit to move, a voltage to modulate, they are but prettied up corpses. We must give as much thought to the tools and means of animation as we do to the things we wish to animate. Then, we shall see the spirit of the mists dance.

 

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