Friday, February 13, 2009

Illumination

Leaving work one stormy day, I find myself driving out of a rainstorm. A tiny sliver of blue in the distant sky catches my attention. Rays of sunlight falling out of it graze the freshly verdant hills of the Diablo Range, illuminating them against the lowering sky like emeralds displayed on moss-colored velvet in a jeweler's case.

I am heading north now, an ominous thunderhead in my rearview mirror masses against the mountains. To my left, the clouds split to reveal a bright clear-washed sky in bird's-egg-blue. The edge of a ball of blazing yellow peeks out of the billowy cloudbanks. On my right the same scene, reflected brilliantly in the mirrored skyscrapers on the opposite side of the highway, plays like a real-time movie of the sunset on a 500 foot screen. As I look behind me at the oppressive stormclouds and forward to the light-drenched late afternoon sky I am reminded of flying. 

Taking off on an airplane on a cloudy day for the first time; as we climbed above the thick gray clouds of a dreary day and into a gloriously clear sunlit sky I realized for the first time, in a seeing-is-believing sort-of way, that the sun was still there when I couldn't see it. Everyone knows on an intellectual level that clouds only block our source of light, right? That they can't extinguish it. But it doesn't seem that way from an earthbound perspective. "The rain has stopped. The sun is coming out," we say. Or, "It's so gloomy, I wish the sun would come out." As if the sun itself is hiding. When I saw for myself that the clouds were only a flimsy barrier over my little part of the sky my perspective suddenly widened. How vast the universe is, and how infinitesimal is the part of it that I can see. 

No matter how much science teaches me about the universe, it seems difficult not to see myself as the center of it most of the time. 

Life is like this: Sometimes all we can see is the storm. Gray clouds hide the sun and make us huddle against the rain, heads down, surviving rather than basking. Sometimes, no matter how well we are taught that the storm is only covering our little bit of the sky, that the sun is stronger and just waiting for the clouds to blow past, it seems impossible to believe that we'll ever see blue skies again. 

This is for D, and Flutter, and all those who are still in the storm but can see blue skies ahead. Keep moving, my dear ones, the sun is waiting for you with outstretched arms, one day soon the storm will be behind you, and you'll glory in the radiance of the sun as you were meant to.


5 comments:

flutter said...

Thank you so much.

l i s a said...

have you really had this post up since last friday? i tried to be all technical and modern and subscribe to your blog instead of checking obsessively for updates. well, it didn't work. back to seeing vancouver as a regular on sitemeter then!

jess said...

Flutter, you're welcome. Thank you for your friendship.

Lisa, um, no.. See there's this tricky blogger thing where they made it possible to set the date & time your post publishes. The resulting problem is that unless you manually change it, the post publishes to the date and time you opened the "new post" window. I started that one on Friday, and then set it aside until yesterday. I was too lazy to change the date before I put it up. Generally I'll only do that if the post is not going to show up at the top of the page (i.e. if I'm publishing something that I started before the last post published). Does that make sense? Trust the feed reader, not the dates. ;)

Jocelyn said...

Sweets, this was lovely. And how are YOU?

I'm so bummed that I was sure I'd thanked you for the earrings but then hadn't. My brain sucks. The good news is that my husband finally is up and about enough to have gotten to the fancy printer at the college, so's we're making you a little thank you card that will, hopefully, make up for my having been a heel.

Le sigh.

l i s a said...

well, looks like i can't trust either. the feed reader never got around to telling me that you had posted something new. so i killed it.

you're done with your work week, aren't you? wah-who! (?)

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