Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Seeking the light

Hello darkness
London, ON, May 2009

I opened my laptop last night and stared into the screen, the cursor blinking at me as if it were mocking me to finally write something. After what seemed like an eternity, I closed it and put my head down for the night. The words just didn't want to come.

It's the first time this has happened since we got the call about my dad, and as I drifted off to sleep I wondered if and when it would happen again. Beyond losing the people closest to me, this may rank as my biggest fear. My writer's voice represents who I am. It's also my primary means of keeping this insane carnival ride - otherwise known as my life - spinning. It's how I provide for my family, and how I keep myself whole when the world around me is anything but.

So I was thankful when I woke up this morning, grabbed the laptop's lid and dove into a document, any document. I could still write, still create, still live. I just needed to learn that my new normal may include the occasional moment when my voice will go silent. And that's perfectly fine.

About this photo: I often capture mournful moments not because I want to bring anyone down, but because I need to understand the full range of life to better appreciate what I've got. To wit, a picture of a homeless woman shooting drugs in broad daylight makes me appreciate my family that much more, while a perspective of a crumbling piece of urban infrastructure teaches me to treasure the home my wife and I have built.

Light-piercing-the-night photos have also figured in my past, including this one taken immediately below my parents' home. Scenes like this challenge me to seek the light even when I'd rather curl up in silence in the shadows for a bit until I'm ready to once again find my voice and carry on.


Mojo said...

Not to give offense or anything, but I'd just guess this isn't the first time your cursor has sat there blinking patiently at you as if to say "Well?...". Or maybe it is. Maybe you're one of the very fortunate, very few who are never stuck for words, and always know what to say or what to write. But I'm guessing that if you thought about it, you'd remember a bunch of "before" days when this same thing happened.

But in times of grief, stress, trauma, or whatever we have a heightened sense of awareness. Probably some anthropologist or other has studied this and determined that our prehistoric ancestors had these animal-like instincts and depended on them for survival. Now that we don't have the random sabretoothed tiger attack to worry about, we put this subconscious ability to notice things more clearly to work when we're stressed. It -- that thing we notice -- probably doesn't happen more often, we just notice it more readily.

Or maybe I'm full of it and we just have more frequent brain cramps when we're stressed. What's important is you got past it, and now you know you can -- will -- get past it if it should happen again.

More important still, that photograph? Kicks.Butt.

Hope said...

I agree with you that it does take the "full range" of life experiences to really appreciate your blessings.

That photo is absolutely perfect. It really speaks to me personally, that even though life can be incredibly dark, light still shines in the darkness.

~j said...

you have a very wise and good friend in Mojo....what a blessing.

and, I agree, that picture rocks.

colleen said...

Hi Carmi, I had been missing your presence at the Meet and Greet and in general, so I came by to catch up. The spotlight on emptiness really touches me. Grief is another expression of love and love is what touches us all, ours and others.

PastormacsAnn said...

However long the night, the dawn will break.
--African Proverb

Sometimes one must just be still.

Such an amazing photo, Carmi. Truly.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

Cloudia said...

Aloha, Friend!

Comfort Spiral

SJ said...

I have been away a long time as well, but I think it's time I caught up. I'm truly sorry for all the struggles you have encountered of late, and I thank you for still taking the time to offer your kind words once again. How you keep up I will never understand, but it doesn't go unnoticed. Here's to many word-filled, warming, joyful days ahead.