Sunday, February 20, 2011

Light Dawns

Light Dawns...I am uncom- fortable with the title. This week has felt anything but light--it has been both dark and heavy; and yet those words, and the evidence of light, continue to leap out at me, if not from me. And besides, it isn't Lent yet, and the light isn't supposed to come until Easter. What will I write at Easter, if light is dawning now? Everything is out of sync. I try in vain to come up with something to write about that makes more sense to me. When I wake this morning I realize that this is what it is going to have to be. So here I go to see if I can discover what I am supposed to learn about light in the dark.

I have nearly reached the light at the end of the tunnel that is work in January. The month from hell lasts well into February. I still have six weeks of filing to do...making new folders and doing the filing are at the end of the tunnel; not to be tackled until I reach the center and head back out into the light. The folders are made and the filing might get done this week, along with other odds and ends. There is an end to both dark and heavy. Two things that redeem my January work are the moments on West Street that begin and end the hours that are sandwiched between my drive to and fro. I watch the sun rise over the city at an hour when most people are not heading to work; sometimes I pull to the curb and watch. And on the way home, after most people are already at home, I drive past the West Street power station. By day it is an ugly tangle of poles and wires and transformers; but after dark it is bathed in periwinkle light that transforms it into a work of art.

The long days are over, so I will miss the sunrise until daylight saving time begins and the morning ride is again at dawn briefly; and the purple light show is done until next winter when the daylight ends early. But something else happens on West Street this week as I drive to work on Wednesday. A slumbering revelation erupts from a place deep enough within me that I have been able to ignore it until now. Tears well up as I realize that I am on my way to a place that has defined my life for nearly ten years, and been an anchor when everything else changed--several times--and I don't want to be there anymore. It disturbs me. It feels dark and scary and very heavy. I don't know what is happening to me. One of those times that a therapy conversation would probably be helpful! And I consider it. (Therapist friend, be on alert. I am aware that people read this blog who will be concerned about my revealing of that thought; but I have vowed to myself to use this space with integrity. And that is where I am this week.)

As has become my custom, I look to the garden to see what I can learn. At the beginning of the week I find four buds on the Lenten rose. Lent is late this year, but apparently the rose is not aware or does not care. Last year it bloomed for the first time, two blooms. I also find a daffodil with swollen buds. When I get home on the day that I broke open, I take my usual tour of the garden. Both the rose and daffodil buds have also burst into bloom. The winter jasmine that struggled through the snowiest winter on record--one bloom-stalk, then three, then six, then four--is in full bloom this week and bathed in light.

The weather this week is spectacular. The "o-Phil-shul" groundhog predicts winter is nearly over, but this is flip-flop-tempting ridiculous! It is February! I have slept with open windows, even turning on the fan the past two nights. It is a good thing I can't see the light from my office; it would have been hard not to be in the garden. But yesterday I was out all day. I have been noticing that my pansies are unusually pretty unusually early this year in spite of an unusually cold winter. I know why that is: for once I pulled out the summer annuals before they were spent, and got the pansies into warm ground. They have bloomed through the winter and they are already increasing in girth. I am pretty sure the garden is telling me something. Sometimes what we have loved needs to end before it becomes unbearable. Too often I have waited for change until it is forced upon me. It seems easier that way. No decisions, no ripping. Or if there is ripping, at least there is the comfort that it wasn't by choice. Not my choice, at any rate.

This weekend, speaking of ripping, I take out the last two bushes in front of my house to prepare for the roses I want to plant. Roses scare me. Some things I read say they are high maintenance. Some rose growers I know say the same. Other say rose-growing scare stories are over-rated; just enjoy them. And my neighbors, whose roses were planted by the woman who renovated the house, do absolutely nothing in their yard (which drives me and my loppers insane) and the roses look great. I thought of roses when I read this yesterday, "We must jump into the unknown to gain insight." (Nicoletta Baumeister) I know nothing about roses, but I am reading and listening to the words of people who do. Roses, life changing decisions, we have to just jump. Not off tall buildings, necessarily. Not without a parachute, necessarily. But jumping with a ball and chain attached to our ankles would not be a good idea. And the anchors that center us can become that when we resist change. Fear of change creates darkness; letting the fear come to light brings tears; and tears, one-by-one break the links of the chain that holds the anchor that tethers us to the known and comfortable before it becomes a deadweight.
I get up early one beautiful, warm morning late this week, and sit on the deck with my coffee while the sun comes up accompanied by a chorus of birds and the fresh, lung-clearing air that is unique to this time of day. I can't see the sunrise from my house, but I watch the pre-dawn hazy sky clear to bright blue as the sun casts its light on the tops of the trees. It is so beautiful, my eyes fill. A friend posted this on her Facebook page this week, “Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see life with a clearer view again.” (Alex Tan) What is clear in this moment is that I am so lucky to be alive and sitting on this deck in this garden on this morning of this day. Does anything else really matter? Really? What we have for sure is this one moment.

As I push a chunk of sadness aside, to make room for the beauty of the morning, I am surprised at how heavy it is. Other things are heavy: carrying a nine plus pound baby in utero (twice); and then heavier ones in my arms. Hiking mountain trails toting a backpack with supplies for a week. A wheelbarrow loaded with bricks. When we can’t carry them anymore, we set them down. And, in fact, we can’t fully enjoy the baby until we put down the weight and give birth; we can't get what we need out of the backpack until we put it down; we can't use the bricks to create beauty until we move them to the spot of the creation. I can't plant pansies until I pull impatiens and I can't plant roses until I dig out the shrubs and ready the soil. Preparation requires heavy lifting.

The tears I have shed this week over past, current, and anticipated sadness drop away that early morning on my deck; and tears are for the beauty that is in my world. How confusing that beauty (and clarity) can permeate the dark, even though it doesn't always remove it. It was a full moon week. Light and dark co-existing. There is nothing confusing about that. Why am I befuddled when I feel simultaneous joy and sadness within myself? That same friend who posted the quote about tears sent me a text some weeks ago that I wrote down: "Sometimes the sun just wants to make sure we're paying attention, so she sneaks into the day." (Vickie Leigh) The light sneaks into the dark. And without the dark, can there be light? I anticipate a life change in the not imminent, but not-too-far off future; I am preparing. This time it will not be a forced change and I don't know what that looks like. I think it looks like this. Fully enjoying all that makes me happy right here and now; and living in it. Planting roses for someone else to enjoy. At the same time link by link removing the chain that holds the once-comfortable anchor, shedding tears for sadness and for beauty--yes, at the same time--and beginning a letting go bit by bit. As the plants gain strength under ground, so do I. And Easter or not, they bloom when they are ready.


Jo Ann said...


Come to the edge.
We can’t. We’re afraid.

Come to the edge.
We can’t. We’ll fall.

Come to the edge.

And they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.


To consider: not therapy, but spiritual direction. It sounds like that's where you are.

Charly On Life said...

I'm reading Tales of a Nomad now.

Like this quote "Passion should overwhelm reason..."

You are exquisite in text and as a human being.