Thursday, June 7, 2007

far away on the other side

"The trees that whisper in the evening
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
Sing a song of sorrow and grieving
Carried away by a moonlight shadow

Stars move slowly on a silvery night
Far away on the other side"

~ Mike Oldfield, Moonlight Shadow.

Noting contrasts that accompany the sands of time, has become more of an understanding and less of a conflict. Navigating dark nights of the soul produces an acumen with which we can savour our days and broaden our vision. And then, on further reflection it occurs to me the contrasts are rarely quite so hard-edged and extreme as they superficially appear. We photographers are surely aware of the range of fine gradations between what we call "paper white," and a rich black that is the absorption of all colors. At times either brightness or shadows become clear to us, and knowing both sides of the spectrum there comes an appreciation of tones and colors that span and reflect. Experiences of healing, as well as those of grieving, occur to me as fragmented and unpredictable courses which cannot be hurried. Thankfully, transition has varied durations, and that allows for opportunities to acknowledge our lives. Perhaps it’s a bit like looking over travel photos that attest to experiences and context. Re-reading journals often has that effect. Occasionally, as a point of reference, I’ll look at written reflections from a year previous (or even more), to the exact calendar day- even if just to see the time and place of the entry. As it can be on a drive through the old neighborhood, or past the tired old workplace, such landmarks are indeed and fortunately on a very large map. Vivid memories can detrimentally embitter, but instead they can be recollected to draw our gratitude.

In striving and so forcefully desiring to transcend duress, reaching for brighter and calmer paths, something of the darkness does travel alongside. Once more, there is a fine edge between identifying with what was endured, and referring gratefully to the sources of gems and metals brought out of the dark times. Certainly there is more than enough that is best forgotten, giving plenty of space for the moment and confident looking forward, but remembrances of how the dark nights can reshape a soul become worthy souvenirs. Nicholas of Cusa, in the 15th century, wrote that, "to understand the darkness, you need the night-eyes of an owl." Concurrent with our emergence is a sharp awareness of our own luminosity, quite like the frisson of the Emmaus sojourners at the very precise instant they recognized the Stranger at their dining table. It is as though the darkness passes just as we identify the divine spark, and such recollections will reconcile darkness with light. The voyage is replete with visual symbols that serve as signs of what is not readily visible. Emerging from dark nights of grief, and even momentary discouragement, whether protracted or fragmented over time, it becomes possible to refer to our own lunar light. Paradoxically, both leaving behind and reaching ahead are forward movements. The ancient Psalmist had been brought to remember his source of strength as he looked up to the moonlit and sunlit skies alike, as they delineated the mountainous landscape around him.


Katie said...

Once again you've left me speechless with your words. Wonderful post...

I hope all is well.


Joanna said...

Beautiful. And the photos are astaounding.