I’ve begun to write approximately a dozen blog posts in the past weeks. Most recently I wanted to share my deep delight at being able to write with my peers for six straight days. Skilled, perceptive, honest, and supportive critiquers are hard to find. I wanted to write about the challenges of moving across the country at such a late stage in my life; about sharing a home and working space with my lover after being pretty much autonomous for a decade; about the waiting game post agent landing; about the thrill of completing this last novel, confident that I’d nailed it; about the remarkable dedication of the Water Walkers; about my son’s wilderness survival apprenticeship; Pasha Malla’s dialogue workshop; reading Berlin, 1976 published in Room Magazine, my first published poem in forty years, at Planet Earth poetry reading; riding my new bicycle all through and around my beautiful new city of Victoria; getting swarmed by the hornets who’d buried their nest in the compost…
I begin and then I hesitate. The world is burning so who cares about a novel or hornets or poems or dialogue or what so-and-so’s son is doing?
Today, the day of the full solar eclipse, a client told me there were places in the world where the darkness was so complete one could see the stars.
Which made me think about darkness and light and how no one much notices a candle or a flashlight or light when there is already light – even at dusk or dawn it’s still not so noticeable. It takes complete darkness to discern the full spectrum of light.
These thoughts have brought me back to this page.
There are so many individuals, groups, flash mobs, organizations, and artists who have been shining their light for a long, long time, but it’s rare for the media to turn their cameras on those events and people. These are intensely dark times; so dark that we’ve grown dizzy trying to track all that’s wrong—everything from the personal to the global. Many of us have been struggling to keep our focus on the good, the positive, and the hopeful aspects of life and living. At times it feels so hopeless that we despair that the darkness is too dense.
As the moon slid between the earth and the sun, I focussed on my breath using Atisha’s beautiful meditation practice of breathing in the suffering of the world, washing it through the heart and breathing out love and compassion. I didn’t need to go outside to witness the arrival of utter darkness. I know it’s there. And I know, too, that light is there. We just can’t always see it.
I had the thought that perhaps the eclipse signalled the nadir of our times and from here forward the light will be what we notice and what we turn our cameras towards.
Let us hope.