Archive for the ‘shadows’ Category


October 26, 2007

4am in the morning the rooster crowed. I woke and went outside the cabin. The grass was damp and cold. I looked up, directly over the trees, my eyes drawn to the brightest moon I have ever seen.

Full, large, and shining in the night sky. I looked around me and there were distinct shadows cast by the clothesline, maypole, trees and me. No wonder the rooster thought it was dawn.

In the chill air I was struck by the clarity and beauty of things. Little colour, but near light as day. Life seemed simple and pure.

Cat Stevens sings about Moonshadows. To me the song is about gratitude and acceptance:

I ever lose my eyes
If my colours all run dry
yes, if I ever lose my eyes
oh if …
I won’t have to cry no more.

It’s a calm and gentle acceptance of suffering and loss. It also implicitly conveys gratitude for what we do have, in a pure clear way like the shadows cast by the moon, darkness against darkness. This verse though is the one that struck me the most:

Did it take long to find me
I ask the faithful light
Ooh did it take long to find me
And are you going to stay the night

To me the faithful light is like the inner light, perhaps cooler and less distant that sunlight. Sunlight either is, or isn’t. Dark and light are more distinct during the day. The ‘faithful light’ is more tolerant, dark and light coexist, merging at the edges. That’s like suffering, gratitude and love. They’re all part of the same life.


Oceans of tears

August 14, 2007

Mothers shouldn’t die. At least they shouldn’t die young. They shouldn’t die before they get to see their grandchildren, or their children’s weddings.

But sometimes they do.

There’s something about your mother dying. The person who gave you life, now gone. It’s like a schism with the world, a cutting off from the source. And that, itself, is worth oceans of tears. Tears for the conversations you might have had if they were still around. Tears for the joy they would have had spending time with their grandchildren. Tears for the loss of the love they would have kept on giving. Oceans and oceans of tears.

Those tears are for a reason though. They show the love that was there. They are a way of physically and emotionally letting go. I still don’t really understand grief, but I do know it’s something you have to do. Something you have to open yourself to. And that hurts. But in the opening there’s a kind of acceptance. An ability to feel joy at what that person’s life meant to you. A sense of pride when you see their love, their giving, still acting in the world, through the people they influenced, the things they said and did.

Death is just a part of the great mystery. But it still hurts.

Patterns in the ice

July 17, 2007

There’s something about a frozen stream. Seemingly caught in mid babble, now silent, solid all the way up to its source. Like you could lift the whole thing up, one giant icicle, molded to the contours of the land.

I’ve seen ice in so many forms in this past week. Clear and smooth, frozen rink like over the surface of a tarn. Opaque and broken, growing on alpine shrubs and falling down a slope to rest jumbled in a heap. Crystal like bobbly fringes clinging to round boulders in mid stream. Banks of glossy stalactites stretching down from mossy overhangs. Fine curved needles pushing a layer of earth out from the dirt wall left by a track cut into the hill. Webbed nets of criss crossing lines, trapped in panes frozen over puddles.

Perhaps people are like ice. Our very selves developing, solidifying in a myriad of different circumstances. Each becoming more distinct, beautiful and in so doing, more set, brittle and inflexible. But still somehow yearning to let go, to be liquid, to merge back into the oneness of the flowing stream…

Ice Shadows

July 23, 2006

During the first week of the school holidays we stayed in Dunedin with my sister. The nights were below zero outside, it routinely gets to minus 7 or 8 degrees there during the winter.

I had to wait till midday to go for a run each day, as the footpaths were covered in frosty ice. Even at midday where the shadows there was ice. The silouttes of cars, letter boxes, walls and bushes were perfectly formed in white frost on the pavement.

Sometimes when I was running I could avoid these icy patches. But in other places I couldn’t. I had to run through the shadows, and risk slipping on the ice.
It seems to me that there are there are places and times in our lives like this. Sometimes we can bring things into the light to heal them. And sometimes we have to walk in the shadows. But by walking through these cold shadows of ice we leave footprints for others to follow, and they are easier for us to cross the next time.