The crystal doorknob

Through a sequence of good luck, I salvaged and kept this Czech lead glass crystal doorknob during ten house moves and over 50 years.

It was fixed to my parents’ bedroom door. The slanting rays of the afternoon sun were diffracted into spectral rainbows, just as they are in my photo today.

I must have been 6 or 7 years old, when I stood facing these vivid primary colours for the first time. I was alone in the flat. I remember moving my head slowly to let these extreme pure colours, one after the other, into my eye and so directly into my receptive youngster’s brain.

The explosion of sensory overwhelm transformed into something I was able to understand much later as an elemental transcendental experience.

These colours, even to my ancient adult eyes today, appear to me like the stuff of supernatural science-fiction. They have an unearthly, exquisite beauty. At the same time, they are most observably real as well as incomprehensible, outlandish, utterly indescribable intensely private personal experiences.

I can easily date from that moment till now my perennial search for all and any transcendental experiences to this first childish encounter with the wonder of sunlight split into its constituent rainbow of colours.

It really did “colour” my whole life!