This I Believe

Beverly - Northville, Michigan
Entered on October 7, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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I believe in lights. The power of illumination of all sorts to stimulate our senses, charge our minds, and demonstrate our relationship with a community. Humans seem to be creatures seeking day, and by producing methods to accommodate the dark periods of our days, and our lives–we not only shine a beacon to seek our own way, but we create vision for those around us, too.

I drive down the street of a nearby suburban development in December, and they, as a community, have wrapped their nascent trees with alternating lights of green, white and red, and driving down the street is a kaleidoscope of brilliant colors flashing by. It’s not just that it’s pretty; it signifies an organized, concerted effort to break the depth of the winter darkness, not just for the residents, but for passers-by as well.

Two candles burn in the evening, into the night and through the next day, marking the anniversary of the death of my parents. The flickering lights from the candles dance, create shapes on the kitchen walls, and conjure images that are memories of the departed. The room is dark but for the glow, and while it is sad, it is embracing. In the privacy of my own home, I am reaching into my past and making it present, not just for me, but for the inquisitive beckonings of my children.

Celebrating momentous events we generate great shows of transient light. Fireworks splash across the sky. We might see it while sharing a lawn with a myriad of other participants. Or we might witness it from a vantage point far away–but always, we are not alone in viewing, and share the gasp of awe when anticipation becomes actualized in bursts of controlled explosions.

The moon shines through the panes of my window as I am awakened in the middle of the night by my infant child. The shadows of naked limbs on trees sway, shift in the breezes moving outside the house. I am heartened by the power of even so faint a light, as it is the only one with me and my baby, slurp slurp gulping on his bottle, his eyes straining on the patterns thrown from the ethereal glow.

I am a Leo, a sun sign, and so must be astrologically drawn to the light. Darkness is raw, unfamiliar and uncomfortable. What makes light so much more significant is that it draws me closer to my neighbors of the world–be they my own family inside my house, or those in places where my life and others’ intersect. I discover that they and I seek the light, and in the search, find community.