This afternoon I could almost believe we lived in the neighborhood of a star, which of course we do – astronomically speaking – but it’s easy most days to forget it. Today, however, I had my eyes dilated and when I stepped out of the optometrist’s office it was as if the sun’s photosphere had burned through earth’s little blanket of air and resolved the material world to an undifferentiated field of molten light.
The effect of dilation isn’t to make things appear brighter than they are but to force the eyes to see more of the light already there. In fact, it’s always this bright – brighter. There’s simply far more light than we are able to see. The lid half shuts and the iris contricts to shield against the full blast. But even dilated, the aperture lets only the slimmest beam inside. If we were all eye we would see nothing but light.
The sun isn’t much worshiped anymore, unless by worship one means the lolling presentation of flesh on a beach or deckchair. Sacrifices ceased long ago. Who can say if it’s suffered by our recent neglect? The body of the god, alive or dead, still revolves: Sol Invictus, perpetual defiance in his chariot, or the recurrent corpse of Helios still warm, still bright.