Friday, November 15, 2013

Let It Shine

I've been musing on light this week. It all started last Sunday night when I pulled off the road on my way home from Austin (MN) to try and capture the incredible sunset. I'm not a very good photographer, and while this picture isn't as good as the real thing, you can still tell that it was something pretty special:

It was almost exactly 5pm and it was just breathtaking. I had no trouble believing that God was in heaven and all was right with the world.

This of course was just after the time change weekend and I realized I had been missing the sunsets in my transition from work to home at the end of the day, because I don't always work regular hours that take me home as the sun goes down.

Monday morning I woke with the sun and immediately recognized a change in the quality of the morning light in my bedroom (whose only window faces east). As I lay there thinking about the day ahead, some long untapped memory of lights past sent me flying out of bed to look out the window. And there it was: snow. I had forgotten. When there is snow on the ground, the quality of the light changes. It's reflected upward. Light "goes" in both directions, all directions, and things are suddenly brighter.

Here's the view from my front door. I didn't want to step outside and mess up the pristine perfection of my front yard just yet. It was still snowing at this point but later in the day the skies turned blue and the whole world sparkled.

Tuesday the wind picked up and the snow swirled in a way I couldn't capture photographically (though I even tried to make a video,)

Ironically, Tuesday was in the low teens - very cold - but I was almost hot in my office because of the sunshine streaming in my windows. Can you imagine that sunbeam beating down on me as I worked?  I didn't want to close the blinds because it was so gorgeous outside, so I just sunned myself like a cat for about half of the day. Beautiful warm, buttery, sunshine - on the coldest day since March.

Wednesday brought a few city lights as I traveled to Rochester for a lunch meeting (which included a burger at Newt's, one of my favorite places to eat there.) Thursday featured firelight as I hung out with the Seventh Grade confirmation class in the Fireside room at church and later, a spotlight on human trafficking as I attended a talk by some Franciscan nuns brought to Blooming Prairie by the AAUW.

Earlier this morning I reflected on how it takes darkness to bring the full bloom of my Christmas cactus into the light.

As always I am overcome with awe that the writers of scripture, who had such limited experience of the world, could capture the essence of God so wondrously - I keep thinking of the first verses in the book of John:"In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:1-5 (RSV)
  • In the Genesis account of creation we hear that God "speaks" light into being with the command "Let there be light." How can this be?
  • And in my extremely limited understanding of the Higgs boson, or "God Particle" it seems that the best analogy has to do with light going through prisms or water, and being broken and re-formed.
  • I think of the people of the Philippines who will be without electricity, and by extension light, for some time to come. 
  • And of Advent arriving in two weeks, and the candles I must buy soon, before they are not to be found.
  • And of how brightly the stars shine in the deep darkness of rural Minnesota.
Still missing the city lights and the bright smiles of my dear friends, but settling into life here with a "lighter" heart each passing week.