Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Seekers of the Light

With the still, heavy heat of the summer evening clinging to my skin I found myself shifting uneasily and dragging my clothing an inch or two away from my body to allow a little fresh air to pass for a brief while. At least there was a slight breeze in the darkness to ease the discomfort and remind me of the cycles and greater movements of the elements around me.

Standing on the back step of my hovel I glanced up into the sky, a few clouds remained motionless across the scattering of stars far beyond. To the horizon was the last visible arc of light on the moon sitting above the haze of light from a city several miles away. I turned to glance through the window back into the hovel and was stunned to see the glass alive with the movement of several dozen moths of all shapes and sizes, all drawn to the dim light inside.
The faintest flutter on the air announced the arrival of more moths as they to headed towards the unattainable light and found themselves pressed against the glass. Gently I removed one of the moths from the window to study the shimmering markings on delicate wings. As the little creature tired of being the subject of my attention it took to the air and immediately headed back towards the light. From the edges of the window spiders emerged to sit among the moths and try to claim a meal from the rich bounty surrounding them. The smaller spiders were jostled by the wings and movement, the largest remained still and patient, the size of the spider was testament to the success of the tactic.

Strange how one small light can attract such attention from the darkness and how others to respond to the flock of powered wings beating against the window. It would appear that many who head for the light are taken to sustain others. My thoughts were interrupted by the flash of distant lightening and its promise of cooler fresher air to come and I turned to watch to night sky again before stepping back into the hovel and turning out the light.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

The Lantern Bearers

There are many times in my life I have looked into the darkness of the night landscape watching for the return of the lantern bearer. That lone light appearing in the gloom to let me know a person who brings light into my life is returning safely to the home fires. As the years have passed I became aware that the mantle of the lantern bearer has passed to me and it is one I cherish.

From my perspective I can literally be the bearer of the light returning from my wanders, but for others in this day and age it could be the headlights of the car or the bike to cast a welcoming glow and announce the arrival of the traveling soul.

I still look for those lights, and will never stop doing so. As my life journey continues I have found many other lantern bearers, those fine people who strive to make a difference, to search for empathy and understanding. To read the tales of those looking to become self sufficient, who have learned to question aspects of life that are unjust and are simply doing things their own way without compromise is inspiring. From writing, crafting and art through to living a harmonious life, such souls are truly inspiring.

In many ways I have been lucky to have those lantern bearers visit here, to read or leave a helpful comment or compliment. This blog post is something of a milestone for the Quiet of Night, it is the 100th post and for those who have taken the time to visit and comment you have my thanks.

Every question we ask is a spark to light the lantern and every piece of understanding we gain is a flicker to the flame. Perhaps as other learn to look deeper at their lives they will look to the horizon and see the approaching lights of thousands of enlightened souls.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Gift of Rainfall

Orange and violet hues from the setting sun cast their light through the western fringe of the woodland. Above the trees heavy clouds shrouded the evening sky and I had only a moment to wait before the pattering of rain began on the canopy above me. With the sinking sun laying between the horizon and the spreading darkness of the edge of the rain clouds I was given a perfect view of the world between the elements of fire and water.

As the rain cascaded off the canopy and down to the woodland floor the drops caught the light and blazed like jewels for the briefest of moments. Looking around me the bark of the conifers glowed with warmth and a stunning green light emerged through the young leaves of the woodland shrubs.

The gentle rain seemed to wash away the stresses of the day, as it had done many times before. As I watched the scene before me I put my hand into my pocket and passed the few coins held there through my fingers. I had to smile, the coins I had would barely buy a coffee at a cheap cafe in town, but there they had no meaning at all. As the light faded and the rain increased the colours changed to delicate muted tones, but I was none the poorer for the passing of the light. The soothing sounds of the rain on the leaves together with the aromas stirred by the movement filled the air. I felt the softness in the ground beneath me as I continued my wanders on the boundary of the woodland and the fields.

The jeweled light of the living energy of the sun with the scents stirred in the twilight of the woodland are the most modest of the gifts of rainfall to some, but to others they are treasure beyond compare. As with many things, it depends on where you stand and the perspective you take.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Solitary Oak in the Storm

As the landscape flattens towards the river a solitary oak stands among the grasses of a fallow field. The eye is drawn to the distant flickering movement of the brown hares, the wide open ground combined with their speed allows them to display a bolder side to their nature.

Above the oak the sky begins to slowly tumble with dark clouds and the air lays heavy with charge. As spring turns to summer there are often impressive storms, the low lands provide a spectacular stage to watch the lightening strikes against the horizon and turmoil of the clouds.

My eyes again rest upon the form of the oak, within the nearby woodlands I have often seen these trees bearing the scars of lightening strikes. It seems the shelter of the neighbouring trees on occasion will do little to stop the blinding white light from seeking out the oaks, but the solitary tree seems to show no obvious signs of damage. It has clearly held its ground for many years against the onslaught of the elements. Perhaps the virtues of fortune and good roots has allowed it to remain strong, while those among the crowds of trees have not always done so well.

As the skies darken my mind turns, the strength to stand alone is something quite special in nature. It is something only a few beings seem to be capable of, but with a little good fortune and strong roots it would appear it is possible, even against the difficulties and turbulence that surrounds our lives.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Healing Path

A few drops of early summer rain began to take the heat from my hands, it had been a long day of hard work with the sun and the physical effort tarnishing the skin. Muscles were tense and seemed to lock into solid forms around the bones. The rain, gentle breeze and the soft twilight with its crescent moon washed over me bringing relief and movement in waves. I realised many years ago that the human body is at its best when moving. Step by step following time with the beating heart, blood flowing with a steady heart rate and each step naturally pushing the energy of life around the organs, the limbs and to the extremities of the feet and finger tips where the nerves seem to hold sway among the skin.

Together with the elements of the woodland and the subtle reflected light in the crescent moon each relaxed step along the trail brings a reassuring healing energy to soothe the body and draw calmness and connection to the mind. The natural moving state of the body along the trail forms a bridge between the forced working energies of the day and the restful deep sleep where the tumbling sub-conscious holds dreams before the minds eye. Within the natural state is both healing and the rationalisation of our waking experiences.

Surrounded by and filled with the pulsing energies of life the trails carry me deep into the woods where the colours of the night sky and the rain drops on the gentle breeze bring a rejuvenation to the mind, the body and the spirit.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Mimicry of Adulthood

Late afternoon sun warmed the sandstone of the medieval buildings and threw shadows across the paved streets. The last of the weekend crowds heaved along the streets, changing direction and purpose with the thoughts and priorities of the individuals among them. I allowed the hill to carry my steps towards the retail centre of the city and away from the aged charms of the old urban heart. It seemed as if I had unwittingly followed the crowds or perhaps it was the reflection of the sheet glass windows to the designer shops that gave an amplification of the noise and movement of the passers by.

I stopped for a while by a quiet shady corner to watch the comings and goings of people, from the laden shopper to the retail worker chattering loudly on their mobile phone. History has shown us repeatedly how civilisation too will ebb and flow, I find myself wondering how long scenes like this will be as the last of the fossil fuel resources are wrung from the earth. The thought of sitting in the traffic to leave the city while forced to enjoy the aroma of the exhaust fumes from the vehicle in front was not one that thrilled me. Until the passing of the crowds it seemed that a coffee shop could provide sanctuary needed to prevent a fraying temper, once I found my good lady among the crowds I found my suggestion was well received.

Moments later we found ourselves seated behind the smudges and smeared windows of a cheap franchise restaurant with the warmth of a brew passing through the paper cups into our palms. As before my attention was drawn to the crowds, a gaggle of young teenagers burst through the doors and took to the seats a few tables away. All seemed to wear the latest in high street fashion and were well groomed in reflection of the celebrities that no doubt took the place of role models within their minds. The dynamics were immediately obvious, the tallest of the lads placed his foot on the centre of the table forcing the others to move their food, he talked loudly commanding the attention of the others and continually gestured and touched the gold chain and rings he wore as if reinforcing his status. The younger lads paid attention to him but also lavished the regard of welcome distraction upon the expensive mobiles and smart phones they drew from their pockets.

One of the girls sitting closely by the tall lad obviously had favour with him. She was able to be bolder with her language and tone, and used him to help reinforce her remarks to the others. The other girls stood around the edges of the tables choosing moments to join the conversation and support the opinions of the two dominant figures. One girl had clearly dressed to impress, but her constant preening and awkwardness portrayed her self consciousness, this was also perhaps the reason the group largely ignored her.

We chatted with our observations, my partner was all too aware of the group and the goings on between them. We both had memories from our youth of the way similar groups formed during our teenage years and of how the same mechanics carried on into college years and corporate life. It seems that the mimicry of adulthood going on before us would be carried on by these youngsters into their later lives. As we finished our drinks and prepared to leave I also remarked on how things were different within this city from the place we grew up. The designer gear, jewelry and mobiles they so proudly displayed and used would have marked you as a target for mugging within the rough northern town we used to call home, but despite this the language and behaviour was remarkably similar despite the years. Schools and curriculums may change as times go by but the way humans seem to unquestioningly organise themselves, seems to remain unaltered.

For me it appears the observations of the late afternoon would remain as thoughts to be carried with me on the solitude of my night time wanders.