I’ve been thinking about lights lately. They’re pretty under-rated. They do a lot: they illuminate darkness so that we can see; they lead us in the right direction; they warn us of danger; they signal welcome; they bring cheer and comfort.
I think about lights when I’m walking the dog in the early-morning darkness. Semi-darkness, I should say – this time of year, when we walk, the morning has begun to gain an edge over the night. But it’s still dark enough for lights to be on. And when we’re coming back from our out-and-back route, which is down a decent-sized hill, I don’t mind that it’s before 6 am, or that it’s cold, or that the pup is WIDE awake as I lurch along. Nope. Because below us, and before us, are the glowing lights of the city. A little softened in the waning darkness, but definitely still there.
Most days, no other pedestrians are out in our neighborhood at that hour, so I feel like it’s a special gift just for me. And I’m thankful.
I also think about lights when I’m running, because most of my runs these days are races against the setting sun. I don’t like running in the dark. There, I said it. I know, there are headlamps and handlights and all sorts of gadgets to make it better, and a run in the dark is better than no run at all, but that doesn’t mean it’s fun.
Running at dusk does have a couple of benefits, though: one, I get to witness lovely New Mexico sunsets just about every day; and two, I have a greater appreciation for my home. I was finishing up a run earlier this week, and had just turned the corner into our cul-de-sac. It had been a less-than-great run, so I was eager to be done with it anyway, but then I looked up.
There, at the end of the cul-de-sac, straight ahead, was home, with its front window lit up and porch light beckoning. And it was the most beautiful thing in the world.
We all need good lights from time to time. I hope that your life is filled with them, and that you have a safe and marvelous Thanksgiving.
And, just in case you find yourself dealing with Planes, Trains and Automobiles-level stress, here’s a poem that Whitney over at https://coalfieldstocornfields.wordpress.com/ posted last year. I dug it up this week and sure enough, I still love it:
by Philip Booth
Lie back daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man’s float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.