George MacDonald opened my eyes to Christian mysticism, to the reality of the presence of God in the things he has made. Through his writings, and those of other great mystics and thinkers, I learned and am learning to see more deeply into the world around me, to look with spiritual eyes on what seems everyday and insignificant. The deeper I go into this way of seeing, the more I perceive the hand of God in in the natural world, the holy beauty of a creation that tells its own parables--spiritual stories written everywhere, waiting to be discovered.
The power of light is the same power that creates myth. It is myth, in a sense I think--the heart of the idea. When I watch the light play over the new-green trees and grass, I see faintly that this is a romance--a story of unveiling, a game of hide and seek that searches out the inner parts creation. It is also a surrender. God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. None. But to see and to give back we must have the shadows; we must know good and evil. Shadows retreat from his face, deeper and deeper into the cracks where they were formed, and he follows them there. The thing that is made is uncovered, transformed in the light, taken up into the mystic--glowing like the stars themselves. Up, where there is no more concealment, where the created reflects perfectly because it has surrendered every hidden part and has become a shrine to the light.
Last night on my front porch the air was so heavy and still. Perfume from the Chinese tallow tree floated thick in the quiet, fertile wetness. The darkness of Spring is not like other seasons; it is sweet and lingering with promises, the first few notes of a triumphant march. The frogs are singing in the brimming ditches, folded flowers wait like sentinels. When the light comes, in the Spring, the world breaks into joy--dancing, waving colored banners, casting off death and darkness and the cold. It comes spinning and leaping, shouting and whispering over and over, 'Resurrection, Resurrection, Resurrection.'
Don't discount the night. With the tips of the foxtails lit with silver, and the glowing eyes of some wild thing watching and still from the edge of a field, it is a seduction. The night tantalizes with secrets, wrapping them in a chorus of whispers--insects, birds, frogs--small, hidden things that raise chaotic hymns to the purple darkness. I stand and listen, straining. Out of the blackness come clear notes, like perfect diamonds dropped onto soft velvet they fall quivering through the inky stillness, shimmering with longing and heartbreak. But I do not know it. Go softly now, there are some flowers that bloom only for the moonlight.
In the early morning, with the sunlight just breaking over the cold hills, she slips through brush like a wandering ray of light, stands silent for a moment, head to the side, listening. She lifts a slim brown leg and steps slowly away--turns, looks at me. With a leap she's over the fence, and the frost quivers, melting in her footsteps. The world is turning, turning, and it spins away the still moments in a whirl of movement and sound. But I do not let them go; I keep pictures inside. The weight of silence, when the world seems to reach out and touch me, and we stand motionless, gazing at one another is like a language I hear but cannot understand. And I think those quiet seconds hold so many secrets--so deep, so patient, and earthy brown, like the eyes of a doe.