Happy Spring! I know that my cold NY friends are cursing the Ground Hog and sneering, "How do you even tell if it's Spring in Florida?" No matter where I am, I will always know it's Spring, because it's a feeling inside, the shifting of the light, the quickening of the senses; and you might not believe me, but I DID see a confused robin here a couple of weeks ago. Maybe he was getting ready to fly up to Central Park and make someone notice him shivering in the melting snow and shout: "Hey, I just saw a robin! Spring is coming!" In New York, I used to do that! I would call someone on my phone and tell them. I would stalk the poor robin and take a picture to document the happy event. One of my New York friends, (and kick-ass jazz pianist/vocalist)
Brenda Earle cannot see a robin in Spring without thinking of me.
Also, every Spring I feel another creative period coming on. For some reason, I've started revamping some vintage neckties that Marc was going to donate to Goodwill. I'm adding bling, embroidered patches, beads and my usual "found" treasures to create some wild fashion pieces! I'm also obsessed with pruning, raking and cleaning up the back yard here, which has been neglected for some time. For the last 3 days, I've worked 4-5 hours clearing brush and piling it in barrels to be taken away. In between all this, as I work, songs have been trying to get out of my head and onto a piece of paper. I have been asked to come back to perform for The Compassionate Friends National Conference in Boston this summer, and I'd like to compose some special music for them, this beautiful group of people whose strength of purpose is amazing.
No matter where you are, you'll know it's Spring too. It's the presence of light, filling our senses and giving us hope. Yet, this awareness of light would never occur without the observed absence of light-and therefore, the acknowledged existence of- darkness. Authors, Poets, Playwrights, Artists, and Philosophers since the beginning of recorded time have struggled with the duality of this life we are living. Somewhere along the way, light became "good" and darkness, "evil". Every day it seems that evil and violence dominate the daily news, and this plays out in the culture we are living in, as the perception of evil = dark is mirrored in our films, fashions,advertisements, music and visual arts. As a society, we long for lightness, "goodness", all the while expressing ourselves in a dark and negative manner, blaming it on the times we are living in. Lighten up!
It's a great day for a bike ride. There's an area near our home where a long stretch of road is shaded by a straight row of mature oak trees. When I get to this spot, I pedal as fast as I can, enjoying the sudden coolness of the shadowy trees. Moments later I burst into the glaring hot sunshine again. If only we could know in our hearts, beyond a doubt, that darkness and light are one. Maybe Shakespeare was right: we are walking, talking shadows who can only exist between light and darkness, always moving, changing shape, alternately being consumed by darkness or light, only to emerge again on the stage of day to act out our parts until invariably, the lights go down and the curtain falls. I don't want to feel that vulnerable. I want to charge my own existence with light. I'm counting on the wisdom of others, and my own desire to know, to seek my inner light.
Author Kate DiCamillo states: "Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell a story. Make some light." Poet Emily Dickinson: "Phosphorescence. Now there's a word to lift your hat to, phosphorescence, to find that light within, that's the genius behind poetry." ……I like that: "to find the light within".
“Inside me there was everything I had believed was outside. There was, in particular, the sun, light, and all colors. There were even the shapes of objects and the distance between objects. Everything was there and movement as well… Light is an element that we carry inside us and which can grow there with as much abundance, variety, and intensity as it can outside of us…I could light myself…that is, I could create a light inside of me so alive, so large, and so near that my eyes, my physical eyes, or what remained of them, vibrated, almost to the point of hurting… God is there under a form that has the good luck to be neither religious, not intellectual, nor sentimental, but quite simply alive.”
-Jacques Lusseyran, "And There Was Light: Autobiography if Jacques Lusseyran, Blind Hero of the French Revolution."
I close this post with a quote about light from a 6 year old autistic child I knew in New York City. She believed, with all of her being, that her dreams at night could shape her waking experience, that she could become what she dreamed. She used to stand next to me at the piano and whisper to me, "Miss Anne, if I dream about something at night, I know it is happening. If I dream I can play the piano like you, that means when I am awake, I will know how." This is a note that she dictated to her teacher, to give to her mother:
"Tell her that I'm really interested in doing something. It's about a light. But, it shines. It's something really glowy and sparkly and yellow. And I want to tell you something. It can go on my foot. It goes all around me and it makes me get dizzy and my eyes get brighter and brighter…I can get lost. I see the light, really close, looking up against it, and I'm walking in the middle of the road at night. And I'm feeling really shy and sad. When I get home, I am going to be the tiredest of all and I'm going to see that light again and I won't recognize it because it's going to make me close my eyes, and suddenly I wake up and I realize I'm flying!"
If that is not phosphorescence, what is?!
Until Next Time xoxoxo