Today I’m considering the phenomenon of “raking light,” first brought to my attention by my daughter-in-law who knows of it from her work in fine-art framing. Here’s the definition (according to Google):

“Raking light,  the illumination of objects from a light source at an oblique angle or almost parallel to the surface,  provides information on the surface topography and relief of the artifact thus lit. It is widely used in the examination of works of art.”

What raking light does, in the lives of ordinary people–and it’s particularly bold about this in Alaska winters–is expose and highlight every speck of dust and lint, every hair (human and otherwise), every grain of sand and grit in your house.

What happened today is that to avoid working on a writing assignment for a class I’m taking, I started cleaning. Not a good idea in raking light, because you can become completely overwhelmed. Think of Sisyphus with a dust cloth. It’s the furniture, floors, art on the walls, books, the television, computer, printer, stove (Oh, my God, the stove . . . someone else has been in my kitchen flinging spices down the burners. I am just not that messy).

I’ll tell you this: I’m mighty glad my activities for the evening will take place after dark because raking light shows precisely what aging does to human skin.  Not pretty.

Copyright 2013-2014 Genie Hambrick