A complete overcast, then a blaze of light

The sky tonight reminded me of a quote I love:

Openings come quickly sometimes, like blue space in running clouds. A complete overcast, then a blaze of light. (Tennesse Williams)

The sky from this picture actually changed and became almost all those dove gray clouds, but they were moving fast and occasionally showing a flash of luminescence, the kind of deep pink-orange that I associate with the insides of some seashells. The sky made me feel hopeful, for the first time in a long bleak day. And I thought about how openings – beginnings, surprises, love, joys – come quickly and surprise us sometimes. About how days that seem all fog can be lit, suddenly, incandescently – and then just as quickly return to impenetrable gray.

It is my nature to try to understand the source of these openings – if I can build a structure around why and when they come, perhaps they will come more often. At least this is how the logic of my flawed little mind works: forcing an order allows for control. But the truth is that these episodes – the stunning recognition of truth in a piece of writing, the sleepy kiss of a child, the awareness of something beyond the clouds – are meaningful because of, not in spite of, their capriciousness and whimsy. Really, the pink clouds that made me stop in my tracks behind the wheel today were the universe shaking a sheet of foil in my face, startling me into awareness with its reflected brightness, and saying: here. now.

Perhaps, then, there is nothing to do but to keep my eyes open. Even for me, who lives with her teeth clenched and her hands gripping the wheel so hard that if she had fingernails they’d be digging into my palms (but I’ve chewed all the nails off, conveniently avoiding this little discomfort), even for me, the skies blaze with light now and then. The stunning lambency of these moments – whether they be a radiant sky or the authentic embrace of a friend or the exquisite beauty of an ordinary moment with a child – breaks right through my carefully-crafted brick wall of defenses, and says: this is all that matters. This. This feeling, this buoyancy of the spirit. This. Here. Now.


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9 Comments

  1. Posted January 21, 2010 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Beautiful!

  2. Posted January 21, 2010 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    So lovely, Lindsey. And so familiar and true. If only I could figure out how to live in this sensation – where “this is all that matters. This. This feeling, this buoyancy of the spirit. This. Here. Now.”

  3. Posted January 21, 2010 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I love the quote, and I love your metaphor. The brooding sky, and the sudden openings. We need to breathe deeply when they come, and take their nourishment as a gift.

    Beautifully written, as always.

  4. Posted January 21, 2010 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    ohhhhhhh! this: “break right through all of my defenses, all of my carefully-crafted defenses, and says: this is all that matters. This. This feeling, this buoyancy of the spirit. This. Here. Now.” reads like a blessing – a prayer – an invitation – to the Beloved. Wow!

  5. Posted January 21, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    “these episodes…are meaningful because of, not in spite of, their capriciousness and whimsy.” I would venture to say you recognize these moments because this, too, is your nature, to be capricious, to create whimsy, to captivate us as you do.

  6. Posted January 21, 2010 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Whether aware of it or not, Lindsey, you are for me (and undoubtedly many others) at many times that very “universe (embodied) shaking a sheet of foil in my face, startling me into awareness with its reflected brightness, and saying: here. now.”

    Your words are consistently crafted with a sensuality and beauty that lure and invite me into your thoughts…as you make your way into mine.

    Thank you.

  7. Posted January 21, 2010 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Your words sing with possibility, embracing the everyday and kissing it on the lips. Beautiful.

  8. Posted January 21, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Wow. I needed this today. Thank you.

  9. Posted January 22, 2010 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    Your nails may be bitten and clenched, but it’s your lambent heart that mirrors the loving clouds.

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  1. By uberVU - social comments on January 21, 2010 at 10:18 am

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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by lemead: A blaze of light reminding me of what maters: http://bit.ly/6EybDS