Was Goethe, the celebrated poet and scientist and author of The Theory of Colors, crying out his final request in an effort to quench his thirst for enlightenment of the mind, the soul, or the eye? Or all three?
I am sure they are all interconnected.
Coincidentally, his deathbed wish became the motto of Lawrence University in Wisconsin, where I sent my oldest child to college.
Three things converged earlier this week to illustrate to me the power of light and its affect on my soul.
First, on Sunday, we switched our clocks back from Daylight Savings Time. The sun slips further away from the Northern Hemisphere, and daylight hours are noticeably diminished. Nights fall early, and mornings are dark.
On Tuesday, the U.S. had midterm elections. An ominous gloom has settled and hung over this country since our last election. I am anxious for my children, the planet, and the future. I feel the grip of darkness in my soul.
I suspect that I am susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. I feel physically drained, deeply depressed, cold and vulnerable. Cloudy, dark days bring questions of personal survival to my mind. And then, Thursday night, temperatures dropped and the first snow fell.
Fortunately, the next morning I was scheduled to volunteer in a Nature Center class of fourth graders. I drove carefully through the falling snow, noticing changes all around. The minute I arrived in the parking lot, I saw a small child lifting her face to the sky with her tongue out, hoping to catch a falling flake. Her face was lit with joy.
Light from the souls of the children flooded my day. Snow angels, snowball target practice, a hike through the woods to the river, and the emergence of a distant but brilliant sun made my mood by the late morning sparkle. There is magic in light, in warmth, in proximity to the energy of our home star, the Sun. The magic brings life to every living thing. I am aware of its sustenance and my dependence on it. And I give thanks for it every day. Thanks, also, to Amy for inviting us to share the magic with this Photo Challenge!
Light is magic. I’m enjoying watching the light, from sun up to sun down, at my new home in the country. Foggy dawn changes……to afternoon gold…
…to evening moonrise.
Then there are the more nuanced fluctuations of light dancing off cold and warm surfaces and reflective crystals.
Isn’t that what photography is all about? The Magic of Light!
I really like this challenge. Shadowed. Looking at my photographs and paying attention to what the shadow adds to the picture is like developing greater awareness of the Yin side of the universal whole. I don’t always remember to do that. I am attracted to the brighter side of life by default, maybe because of my Sun sign, Leo…maybe not. Maybe just because there are so many voices encouraging us Westerners to be positive and dualistic. Shun the shadow, move toward the Light. Problem is, you’re only half aware if you do that.
Nature’s shadow is dramatic and ordinary at the same time. Sunlight is a powerful force in the ecosystem of life, and its waxing and waning effects many behaviors. We tend to think of the differences as important, but are they?
Nocturnal creatures make a habitat out of shadow; it is simply home, cover and shelter.
Shadows can represent mystery in life, reminding us that what we don’t see is nevertheless present and active.
Ultimately, ‘shadowed’ is a concept. It’s a creation of the big human brain, borne of our propensity to analyze, distinguish and attach a label. Shadows are a natural phenomenon that we like to imbue with meaning. That’s who we are and what we do, and it’s interesting to ponder that.
Inspired by the Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge.
“…Propelled into the furthest arc, forsaken by the sun…” (from a poem I wrote, published in Living Church magazine) What do we do in the Northern Hemisphere when we feel bereft of light and warmth? We make HOLIDAY! An excuse to gather together and eat and light candles, replenishing the light and warmth we feel we are lacking. Yesterday was American Thanksgiving, so I hosted a dinner for Steve and his mother and aunt and sister and brother-in-law. We love our home and spend far too little time in it lately. We have been neglecting our home business (Scholar & Poet Books) for some reliable capital gains in the form of outside employment and losing touch with our domesticity. Thanksgiving was a good time to settle in to cleaning and cooking and re-stacking books and music. Puttering around the house while listening to good music is a nesting paradise.
And It Was Good. Good Will yielded some great finds in table decorations. The turkey turned out moist and delicious. Everyone brought side dishes to contribute. We even had a family political argument! (What holiday is complete without one?) I really enjoyed serving Steve & his family out of the love and joy I feel in my heart…not out of obligation or duty. The best part was just remembering why we are working so hard…so that we can get back to living out the life that we want to embody: slower-paced, inner-directed, aware & appreciative.
So…..light. Candles on the table, ready to dispel the darkness when the sun sets. Sunlight streaming through the south window, illuminating the sideboard, laden with olives and nuts and good, stinky cheese. And sherry & gin. The darkness will not overwhelm us!