Last night, I marked the Coming of Light, alone in this big house, the parsonage at Unalaska. I had checked online for the exact time – 7:48 PM, local time – and I silently honored the moment by standing at the front window, looking across the white-covered lawn with a few animal tracks, across the road, across this state that is on the Bering Sea.
This was the holy moment, the moment light returns from behind the mountains to mark daylight.
There is something holy in this moment, this moment of Light.
I suppose I have always been enamored of light. In past years, though, I have been more conscious of taking note of light; that way, I can enjoy being enamored! I see that light changes every moment. Light is not static; light moves, sways, marks, drifts, shallows, lengthens, shines. Light is life. I love the light in my home in Oakland. There, the light also changes quickly, especially at dusk. Sometimes I run from the back of the house to the front so as not to miss the light changing on the leaves of the birch in the front window. If I had not run, I would have missed it! There, it is… and there, the moment has passed. I am a witness, nothing more. This is one moment, stopped in time, and it is my privilege to receive it, a gift.
I have a deeper sense of the importance of the solstice for people who lived in times before electricity – through most of time, after all – and I honor those people, too, their unknown faces, names, remembrances, losses – I honor all who are dependent on light for work. I honor them all. We, too, are dependent on light for work, although we seem so powerful in our ability to “harness” light and power. Beyond our ability to manipulate so many things, even when light comes and goes – Daylight Savings Time – we are only creatures of earth and sky and stars and wind and the branches of trees. We, too, are moved by wind. Nature will not be manipulated. Although we may love the concrete of our cities, in some way, conscious or not, we are one with earth. We are one with light.
It is a luxury to have the time and the time of life to enjoy light, to embrace this Coming of Light. On this day, this moment, another woman is fleeing her country, her back aching, her heart aching as she takes one exhausted step to the next, head down, walking from Syria to somewhere else… I am that woman. So are you. It is my luxury to have this time to reflect on my life, to watch the light change from one moment to the next, and to know that I am dependent on it. Others do not, will not have that luxury.
I am grateful for this time of retreat, marked by light and feeling, emotion, emptiness, and quiet. Sometimes, I am lonely. Sometimes, I am sad. Sometimes, I am nostalgic. Sometimes, I am aware; and sometimes, I am not aware.
Still, the light is moving across the sky. Now, the sun is creating a streak of light through clouds. I am here, cherishing the luxury of this moment, from one time of life into another.