Saturday, 12 November 2016
Slivers of light in the darkness
The bulb in the streetlight outside our house have been out for a little while now. And you know how it goes, it's one of those things that you tell the council about and they tell you that they'll look into it. I wonder how much it costs to send someone out to change the bulb? I wonder how much of their severely underfunded budget goes into changing all the bulbs that go out each year? If I had a tall enough ladder and was sure not to break anything I'd get up there and change it myself.
Alas, that's not what I came here to write. And it's not really important. I quite like the darkness.
I stepped outside on the evening following Hillary Clinton's thoughtful, graceful and measured concession speech. They were repeatedly showing clips on the news but I had already cried enough for one day and I needed some air. There's a shadowy nook between our home and the gate to our garden, where I sometimes retreat to at night if I need to get some quality thinking-air-quiet time in. I looked up and the void left by the usual warm glow from the streetlight revealed a skyline full of stars, cascading as far as I could see in every direction. I could see more tiny illuminated specks dotted against an inky blue canvas than I have ever seen all at once before.
And so I suppose this is about noticing the small things. It's about appreciating the things in life that are constant, amid whatever is changing so drastically elsewhere. It's about stepping outside to clear my mind. To breathe in some fresh air that can somehow heal a tiny part of me, even if it's just for a moment. And instead of wasting too much time feeling ashamed of all the things I haven't done but should have, it's about mustering the courage to think about how I'm going to spend more time standing up for the things I believe in.
It's also so much more than that. It's about giving myself permission to feel scared, or sad, or overwhelmed. It's about looking out for other people, and making sure they feel safe and loved and wanted and welcome. It's about finding ways to be kinder than is necessary and empowering others to share their thoughts and collectively figure out how to make this better.
And I can't say exactly where I'm going with this because the truth is I have no idea, but I think it is ultimately about finding little slivers of light in the darkness, and holding on to them tightly.
"Your opponents would love you to believe that it's hopeless, that you have no power, that there's no reason to act, that you can't win." And while hope "is not the belief that everything was, is, or will be fine" it "locates itself in the premises that we don't know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act." - Rebecca Solnit