LOVE & LIGHT
“Where do you like to write?” a friend asked me. “Do you have a special place?”
I have many special places: standing desk, rolltop desk, dining room table, picnic table on the patio. Sometimes the couch. In each space the light hits the wall differently. And different walls look different at different times of day and in different seasons of the year.
I need natural light to write. I can’t create from a loving place unless my eyes are flooded and my skin is sheltered.
Winter sunlight is my favorite. Where I live, we don’t have a proper winter, but most of the trees are now bare. On my walks I can see nests and birds and oh so much blue sky. I take in the brightness that makes even empty limbs sparkle.
PLACE AND LIGHT
Sunlight can be many things. Like love, it can be hot or pale, a source of growth or a source of sunburn, garish or glad.
Consider the interplay of light and love in this excerpt of “Dissolver of Sugar” by Rumi.
pale the wall.
Love moves away.
The light changes.
I need more grace
than I thought.
I don’t always like Rumi, who was a 13th century Sufi mystic, but when I do like him, I really like him. (It’s okay to like some things by a poet and not care for others.) I like this poem because it’s almost a haiku — six lines, instead of three, 21 syllables instead of 17. But like a haiku, it’s nature-focused and it contains two ideas: light and love. And a bit of grace.
The poem tells us, “Love moves away / The light changes.” Every single day the light changes. Now, after the winter solstice, each day contains more light. Later in the year there will be less light. We notice these changes, and they sometimes affect our mood, but we accept them.
THE GRACE OF LOVE AND LIGHT
Why then does change in love so rend our hearts? Is it not like the changing of the light? Rumi seems to think so. It seems we need grace for both — more grace than we thought.
IT’S YOUR TURN
What do you think the poem is saying? Take a few minutes to journal about it. Even when you don’t feel like writing a poem, you can always journal about one. All you need is a pencil and paper (or a computer, if you prefer to be able to read your own writing).
- Read the poem.
- Jot down what you notice, what you like, what you don’t, what questions you have, and at least one way in which the poem speaks to your soul.
- Read the poem again, aloud (if you didn’t the first time). Is there anything you notice this time that you want to add to your journal?
Now write a poem about your own experience of light and love. Here’s mine about writing in winter.
my writing chair
orbits the table
until the yard
comes into the light
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