Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dark to Light

I began to learn how to let light shine into corners of my mind very early. The act coincided with using a flashlight to read under the covers at night, or when we had to use kerosene lamps to light a room or path. African sunsets had a way of infusing images into my mind, such intense beauty. A teacher reminded me that the way we open our mind to new thoughts, a real education, can be seen in the way we live our own history as humankind. Having sex, making babies, we did “in the dark” for centuries, both literally, banked by leaves or tangled in sheets, and not knowing how this “miracle of birth” happened, until our science caught up with our procreation practices and we illuminated the sperm/ovum, embryo to baby pathway. Wiping the sleep from my eyes as a child and peering into the beginning morning light, I remember the way objects came into view, how clarity happened. New questions and wonderings continued as my feet hit the floor and I began to move through the house, into the bathroom, the kitchen, out into the yard or gravel driveway, listening to all kinds of sounds.

The weight of our experience, as people, as cultures, as a society, hangs with us, creates shadows that can be seen and felt in our eyes, faces, our lifestyles, our silence and our speech. What keeps us up at night, or awakens us in the morning shows us where we have been, and what corners we may have taken, what hills we have climbed, what rivers we have crossed. “The Great War” is a reminder. My father had a beautiful brother killed when his ship was bombed. Men of a certain age, and growing older as we do, have the weight of all such experience as a collective that is tangible, though diminishing as they are dying, a species unto themselves. Their  women hold this too, though theirs is a different weight, a certain light it seems that honors the men, the time, the changes asked of them as a collective. I think of families, how they change as “life happens.” With my parents both dead, I too have a new view of change, as I sense their presence, as I remember moments – moments of laughter, moments of pure joy, moments of diminishing light and occasional storms, sometimes lingering for a few days, as grief passed through them. Always joy returned, and a steady, steely resolve which was fed from childhood, and a sense of life being eternal, the day-to-day work a gift of moving on, of seeing the days through from light to dark and light again with dawn. 

As I watch the news these days, with people infusing themselves with the contagious motivation and power of change, I marvel at the shadows that we cling to, and what urges us to make changes, sea-changes, when we do. We help each other as the tide builds. In my own world, as Spring begins (though today feels more like winter!), I watch the abundant birds and the heads of daffodils bobbing with the wind, and I feel so happy to know the changes that come, that they are a cycle of nature, including human nature. How do we, how do I best honor the changes that are designed and enfolded within as energy beings? One way is by listening, listening to all of the sounds and communication of life, such as the bird-song, the way the rain drips onto brick, the way even the plastic bag feels as we fill it with leaves and sticks and all matter of brush in our choice of clean-up. Memories fill me as I quiet my mind and let it soar, instinctively sinking into the warmth that love reminds as the chill outside persists, for this day, this hour, this moment. Knowing what moments of new thought mean to me is a gift, a bouquet which shines its beauty beyond just what my eyes can see, but to every memory I will ever know. Let the good live, shine.

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