word of the day: illumination

by erika

Hi Friends,

Last night, I dreamed of my dad and my paternal grandfather and one of the angels from Angels in America hanging out in the tree in front of our old cottage in Michigan. (it’s funny how we know things in dreams without being explicit–that the angel was from that play, that the tree was from that yard, that my dad was envious of my grandfather). My dad, with his wonderful tummy, was looking at my grandfather working outside and said, “He always looked good because he kept moving; his trick was to keep moving.” And then he said a few other things about his dad and it was beautiful having two ghosts and one angel discussing each other’s (past) lives.

In the dream, I was photographing everything and I kept telling myself—it’s all about the light, it’s all about the light. And isn’t it ever?

word of the day: illumination

a spiritual or intellectual enlightenment
(1) a lighting up 
(2) decorative lighting or lighting effects
c decoration by the art of illuminating

T’is the season of illumination–daily candles lit, hearts hopeful, bright bulbs of color lining homes and hearths. I have a tiny tree this December–topped, not by a shining star, but by a dinosaur finger puppet we’ve renamed “Tree Rex.” The illumination I am in desperate need of this year is that of lightness. I need to go easier on my heart. I need laughter. I need to remove the lead, full-bodied apron I’ve been wearing and trade it in for an ugly Christmas sweater and some moments of deep-bellied resonance. The dinosaur ez put on top of the tree helps me with all of that.

I love the word lumens. And its definition: “a unit of luminous flux in the International System of Units, that is equal to the amount of light given out through a solid angle by a source of one candela intensity radiating equally in all directions”

So many good words in that one sentence! Candela! Intensity! Radiating! When it comes to inner illumination, I may not be able to radiate out equally in all directions, but I do feel that my heart is made of luminous flux.

A beloved of mine (of many lifetimes within this one) has recently accepted the “black and white photography challenge” on fb. Most people’s black and whites I have seen are just folks adding a filter to shots they’ve previously taken. This lovely, however, has suddenly turned her eye to the light and within the worlds of black and white has discovered more color than I thought possible. I feel lighter when I see her photographs.  I feel her artist heart beating more loudly in her ribs. I feel her story taking place in this moment of things and her voice coming through her eye. She recently posted a photograph that I call, “Christmas Morning”–it has mystery, voice, and anticipation all wrapped up in one shot. It also holds nostalgia, want, and loss–like so many of the best memories do. Her new way of seeing is illuminating new ways of seeing her and, like my most favorite artists, new ways of seeing into myself and the world around me.

Back to my dream. The Angel, all glorious and disco-haired, whom I was able to capture in a radiant stream of light that shone off the shot, kept saying, “Back to the top! Everybody back to the top!” and I woke nostalgic for the idea of starting new, waiting in “the wings of the world,” starting as light. illumination.

Love (and light) to all,

not-so-silent e


photo by Kate Thorngren Weglarz