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When we stumbled on this lovely way to read Rain Light by W.S. Merwin, through dappled sunlight with bird song, it took our breath away for a moment as we rode on the New York City subway…

…Such beauty “even though the whole world is burning”...

Escaping Flatland by Edward Tufte

Then, we came upon an image of Edward Tufte’s Escaping Flatland sculpture, also in dappled light. Tufte, a brilliant explainer of visual things — he is the author of Envisioning Information — told just what was happening:

Dappled light is produced when sunlight is flitered through the leaves of trees. The dapples result not because tree leaves have elliptical holes in them but rather because the leaves combine to make many tiny pinhole cameras, which then produce multiple images of the sun’s surface on nearby projection surfaces. Thus each dapple is an image of the surface of the sun. If there is a large sunspot on the surface on the sun, that spot will appear within each dapple.

…each dapple is an image of the surface of the sun.

Tiny video found at the Merwin Conservancy’s instagram.

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