The Turning Sky

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where the past and future are gathered. Neither movement
            from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
The inner freedom from the practical desire,
The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving...

                                  -- T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton

The northern sky makes a quarter-turn around Polaris during a 6-hour exposure. The brightest stars at the top of the frame are in the Big Dipper asterism in the constellation of Ursa Major, while the constellation of Ursa Minor is at center right. The saguaro cactuses in the foreground were illuminated by the lights of a nearby campground.

Date: March 17-18, 2007
Time: 8:47 p.m. - 3:13 a.m. MST
Location: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona
Camera: Olympus OM-1 35mm SLR on fixed tripod
Film: Fuji Provia 100F slide
Focal length: 24 mm
Aperture: f/8-11
Exposure time: 6 hours and 26 minutes
Scanner: Nikon Coolscan LS-2000

Revised: July 5, 2007
Copyright © 2007 Joe Orman (except Eliot poem)
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