Tuesday, January 27, 2015

when the light is cold



I had some apprehension before buying our little house but since moving in only one regret- I can't see the sunset. It's hidden directly behind a neighbor's old, giant pine tree.

The light-filled kitchen in our previous home was one of the things I loved most. And watching the sky as I made dinner each night such an important part of the liturgy of my day.

It is January. I am hoping that the earth's tilt in summer will grant me more of a view. Or maybe the Spirit will prompt our neighbor to cut down that tree.

Or maybe the sun will be partially hidden from me always, for the duration of our time here, and I will only get a view of the edges. Will it be enough to know that the heavens are declaring God's glory? Can I behold the beauty of the Lord- though obstructed- by faith?



For most of the year I follow the light. I watch the way it softens the earth and calls forth tulips. I watch it rest on the red nectarines. The way it changes everything in Autumn. The longest nights give the day a kind of dark hush which makes the light raw and tender.

I trust the light and am wooed by it and admire it endlessly.

And then there is January, February, March- the light seems to grimace. It is flat, like an insincere smile.

oppresses, like the Heft of Cathedral Tunes.


Winter light is everywhere and nowhere. I want to close the blinds, to hide from the cold light and it's cruel shadows. In winter I prefer to walk in the dark, the nighttime fog, the snowy trenches.

I believe God is near to us in the dark, that even the darkness is not dark to Him.


When the light is unfamiliar or obstructed, when God seems distant or indifferent, I think it's okay to recognize that and to hide in the shadow- the cleft of the rock.

It could be His glory passing by. It is too good for us to bear. (Exodus 33)

The light we cannot bear, the goodness we can't recognize- has he put us in the cleft of the rock? Is he covering us with his hand until He has passed by?

We follow His light through the year- maybe springtime we see His back. Summer His robes, Autumn the hem of His garment. In Winter we hide our eyes again.


The earth lies frozen and trembling until spring.



There's a certain Slant of light, (320)

BY EMILY DICKINSON
There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes –

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –
We can find no scar,
But internal difference –
Where the Meanings, are –

None may teach it – Any –
'Tis the seal Despair –
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air –

When it comes, the Landscape listens –
Shadows – hold their breath –
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death –

1 comment:

Misha said...

Thank you so much for this. I needed your words - and they are lovely and light in themselves. Thank you.