Endings of a year, or any period, are a time to reflect and review. And the pictures I have selected from the last few days are a collection of happy moments from our Christmas time with grandson, William, now nearly two.
He sees things with eyes of wonder. He is interested in the smallest thing, relishes the sounds of new words, and wants to run down the same slope in the garden over and over again just for the sheer fun of it! He knows the joy of play, and his giggling laughter tells us about it.
I can’t return to having the mind of a two year old, but I can learn from watching him. And he reminds me of a favourite few lines of Mary Oliver…
Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be amazed. Tell about it.
Since January 2012 I have spent the first month of each year trying to follow these instructions by writing a “small stone” each day. For January 2017 I have decided to try something a bit different – drawing an everyday object or something which draws my attention instead of writing about it. It won’t be an accurate representation or a work of art, just an attempt to capture a moment in lines and colour instead of words. Could be quite challenge…
I love candles, and even the smallest flame can dispel deep darkness and bring comfort. This time of year our festivals celebrate light overcoming darkness, and we are encouraged to be merry and bright, spreading light and happiness where there is sadness, like candles in the dark.
But I have also been pondering the importance of darkness. Darkness is sometimes necessary to for us to see the lights as I wrote yesterday. The contrast is an essential part of our perception of both light and dark, one shows up the other.
And what about dark in itself? I have been thinking a lot about a poem by Wendell Berry. I initially resisted its message, because I have always felt light was more important than darkness. But I wonder. Perhaps the dark has its own gifts. Even when we can’t to see the way ahead we walk by faith and not by sight. And sometimes the dark brings insights which would never be seen in the light.
To know the dark – by Wendell Berry
After an unsually dry and bright November, December has been dull and foggy with the lengthening dark nights. The decorative lights in the streets, on Christmas trees and houses bring a welcome sparkle. Last night lights shining on Wimborne Minster outlined the old stones in a new way, and crowds stood and gazed at the illuminated images. It was a fun way to enjoy the contrast of light in the darkness.
Recently our circuit breaker was tripped and the whole house was plunged into darkness. We groped blindly towards the cupboard housing the electricity meters, winding up our rechargeable torch to shed a weak light on the situation. When we reset the switches and power was restored it was a relief, the moments of darkness accentuated the light we so often take for granted.
Sometimes, it seems, we actually need darkness in order to see the light, as anyone who has tried stargazing quickly finds out. I had been in the town earlier in daylight hours, but without the darkness the projected lights on the Minster would not been seen.
Makes me wonder if we sometimes underestimate the importance of darkness…