You may be wondering why I picked now to reboot a blog that’s been dormant for a few years, and why there are no vegetable recipes or garden reports in your inbox. The truth is, inaugural poet Amanda Gorman lit a fire under me with her poem, The Hill We Climb.
I was already headed toward reconnecting with you, what with this little pandemic and all. Since it began, I’ve found that writing is one of the best ways to quiet all the noise in my head. But I wanted to share more than recipes and garden tips with you.
And then I heard Amanda say these lines (many times, since I played the recording over and over again after the actual inauguration).
For there is always light,
if we’re brave enough to see it,
brave enough to be it.
Be the light! I love that idea, and I began to think about what it really meant to do that. To be kind, generous, supportive, positive, unselfish, enthusiastic, accepting, exemplary, visionary, honest, fair, passionate. A dozen people might come at it a dozen different ways.
But for me, I’ve been thinking it might mean sharing a little bit about how I find peace and serenity through creating — the cooking, the gardening, the flower arranging, the photographing, the meandering through the woods and over dunes. You see, I’ve been sober now for 14 years, long enough to be humbled by an impressive roster of missteps — and long enough to be honest with myself about what I need to get through the day (other than chocolate): Beauty, color, flavor, comfort, focus, activity, air, touch.
I’m also well-practiced at looking for light in the darkness. Believe me, Amanda is right; it takes courage. But looking for the light, then finding it, and finally, letting it radiate through you — that’s truth. And by truth I mean something possessed of much more energy than you might realize.
Years ago, reading a little book of essays called A Season for the Spirit by one Martin Smith, I learned that the original Greek word for truth is aletheia, which literally means “un-hiddenness.”
“Truth is not a thing, it is rather an event. Truth happens to us when the coverings of illusion are stripped away and what is real emerges into the open,” Martin wrote.
Think about that! Truth is the act of revealing ourselves — of actually being our real selves — and in turn becoming that bright light in the darkness. It’s hard — getting there, I mean. Annie Dillard wrote, “You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary.”
But remember this, too: Darkness is a great place to visit, but don’t pack a suitcase – overnight stays are not advised. (That’s me channeling my favorite sober funny person-writer, Anne Lamott, who would totally say that.)
Come along with me into the light. I promise nerdy quotes, real-life stories (triumphs and debacles both), pretty photos (a LOT of flowers), book recs, music, kitchen wisdom, garden wisdom, and wisdom-wisdom. (That’s the stuff gathered from the universe of wise people — not me. I should come with a warning label.)
If you’d rather sit this one out, I totally understand and will not stick pins in a voodoo doll if I see your name fall off the subscriber list. (Though just thinking about that might keep you on.)
Here’s my reading suggestion for the week, an oldie but goodie: Ann Lamott’s Traveling Mercies.
And here’s some feel-good music, just because I love these guys.