I stood outside the library waiting for Judy this morning, and wondered whether there would be any moments of light today. I hadn’t bothered to bring the camera. It was a rainy morning and we were squeezing our walk in between rain storms.
I stood there, under gray skies and dripping trees, with no sunshine in sight. But slowly I became aware that there was a lot of light around me. The sky, though gray, was light. Bright headlights kept passing out on SR 15, and the windows in Umble Center caught the reflection of headlights waiting at the stoplight, multiplying them till it looked like a wild party was going on inside. The campus lights burned a warm yellow.
And the wet sidewalks reflected the campus lights with puddles of gold, and they reflected the gray skies with puddles of silver. Silver and gold, at my feet. More subtle than diamonds in the dewdrops on grass on sunny days, but a spirit-lifting light when I allowed it to seep into my awareness.
And rainy fall days like this tend to trigger a memory from my childhood days. I see the turn into Carter Rd, with wet leaves on the wet road. This is 10th St from this afternoon, outside our current home, so it's missing the curve, but this is close to what I picture.
And then I’m in our warm home. I can smell beef stew simmering on the stove, and bread baking, or maybe an apple pie. And Judy and I are at the piano, singing, “Joyful, joyful we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love,” and working together on the music, one of us playing the right hand part and the other the left hand.
All thy works with joy surround thee,
earth and heav’n reflect thy rays,
stars and angels sing around thee,
center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
blooming meadow, flashing sea,
chanting bird and flowing fountain,
call us to rejoice in thee.
HWB 71, v 2, Henry van Dyke
I must have absorbed these words at a deep level, because in some way, this is what I’m watching for and what I'm finding as I watch for those sparks of light – the invitation to praise and wonder, wrapped up in light and shadow and leaves and candles and grasses and puddles and clouds.
(this is Judy and me at the piano, from about the right time period, but given the position of our hands and the trolls above the keyboard, I suspect we are playing a duet version of The Hall of the Mountain King)
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"