L is for Light

Tonight’s post is less a coherent essay than a series of short thoughts on light.


‘There’s a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.’  Leonard Cohen ‘Anthem’

This line knocks me flat every time I read it. You have to have cracks so the light can get in. How incredibly powerful is that? Yes, things might be broken but that is only part of the process, the cracks are how we see the light, the way to see the solution.

If that doesn’t stir you, I don’t know what will.


Because I like to look at things from all sorts of different angles, thinking of light immediately makes me think of darkness.

In turn, that makes me think of the kids (and adults) I know, who are afraid of the dark.

You know the saying 'It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness'? Do you know what's even better? Lighting four small candles and then making lunch and tea during a 3 day blackout.  Girl Guide training for the win!

You know the saying ‘It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness’?
Do you know what’s even better? Lighting four small candles so you can make lunch and tea during a 3 day blackout.
Girl Guide training for the win!

I know there must have been a time when I, too, was afraid of the dark but I don’t remember it. In fact, the only time I remember being freaked out by the dark was in the bed & breakfast after my wedding. I woke up in the middle of the night in a completely dark room, I couldn’t hear The Man and I couldn’t see anything. I knew that I wasn’t home but I couldn’t figure out where I was. The bed that we were on was giant (a California King maybe?) and I must have been near the middle and The Man must have been near the edge because I reached out as far as I could in one direction and all I could feel was mattress, I reached as far as I could in the other and it was the same. It was an overwhelming feeling – in fact, I can conjure it up right now and it was almost 20 years ago! I assume that people who have a fear of the ordinary dark must be much the same way – what the heck is out there and why can’t I see it?
I’m not like that at home though, or in most circumstances. I’m mostly not fazed by the dark. Even when it starts coming earlier and earlier as the fall progresses. I enjoy when the light returns in the evenings – it feels MUCH better to leave TKD in the light than in the dark – but I don’t worry about it much when winter brings more darkness. In fact, I find the light of the lamps in the winter to be very cozy and comforting. It’s kind of a relief for me to have a reason to retreat into my house and sit under the warm light of the lamp and just feel like we are in our fortress without having to consider the world outside.
I think part of it is that the light inside is controlled by me, and the lamp light makes me think of reading – so that’s a definitely benefit. 🙂


Speaking of lights that are controlled by me:

I also like the light in the oven. I can remember being small and looking into the oven through the window to see what my mother was cooking for supper. And I still like that light now – and looking into the oven when my cookies are baking so I can see how they are doing. There’s a literal warmth that accompanies that light of course, but the light itself feels good to the eyes – like there is something fabulous going on – which there is, of course. 🙂


I used to have an alarm clock light that was supposed to wake me gently by gradually getting light enough for me to wake up. It totally didn’t work for me – instead I would wake up instantly as soon as the light started to come on. It wasn’t gentle, it wasn’t easing into being awake. It was just annoying. The killer is though, I lived with that for ages – and by the way it wasn’t a good enough light for reading at night, so it really didn’t serve me well AT ALL – I’m not sure why I did that, I just have a habit of tolerating little annoyances until they somehow trip into my actual consciousness. Then I usually deal with them swiftly.


The last couple of days are finally starting to feel springish – the sun is warm when it shines through the window in my room.  I’ve been able to do a little bit of yoga in a patch of sunlight each morning. Yoga seems to me to be a celebration of the body and how it can move, and what matches that better than to connect with natural light when I do that? It just makes sense to be able to do my sun salutations while facing the actual sun. And sometimes the sun is pretty damn rare where I live so it adds an extra boost when I can incorporate it into my practice.


We often keep our kids company as they fall asleep. One of us will sit in the hall between their rooms and read or write, listen to music or play a game. When my husband sits there, he often turns off the light in the hall and sits there with the glow from his screen lighting up his face. I really like the way it looks when I come upstairs to find him sitting there, absorbed in what he is reading, his face alight. Even thinking about it makes me grin (he is a VERY handsome man, that one).


What do you think about when you consider the light?

3 thoughts on “L is for Light

  1. Blimey, where to start? Each of you tales touched. I – too – had the same reaction to the Leonard Cohen. But it was being scared of the dark that chimed. My ayah used to keep us well behaved with tales of the bogie man and every sound and shadow at night used to have me lying still in bed in absolute terror. It took decades before I was able to sleep without a light on somewhere. Even now, when moving into somewhere new, I leave a light on until I feel at home. Oh & I keep a torch under my pillow whenever I stay away from home which has caused much amusement among my friends (I’ve left so many behind!)

  2. The oven light reminds me of my four year old. She always wants to peek when something is coming. I love the warm glow from the fireplace in the winter. It’s my favorite. I love the dark to sleep, but I like it light when I’m awake. My husband will sit in a dark house, and it cracks me up. I always say, “Where’s the light?” And Yoga! I’m doing it on Friday. Boy, do I wish I knew you IRL, because I think we could be great friends.

  3. Debs – I know a lot of people who are afraid of the dark, I wonder if they all have bogieman stories they are relating to? I totally get the flashlights, I often travel with one, too. Perhaps you could make an art exhibit about lost torches?

    Lauren – I like the image of your little one peeking in the oven. I find it interesting how we all have different concepts of ‘too light’ and ‘too dark.’ I think it would be marvellous to be friends IRL.

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