Light chaff and falling leaves or a pair of feathers
on the ground can spook a horse who won’t flinch when faced
with a backhoe or a pack of Harleys. I call it “horse
ophthalmology,” because it is a different kind of system—
not celestial, necessarily, but vision in which the small,
the wispy, the lightly lifted or stirring threads of existence
excite more fear than louder and larger bodies do. It’s Matthew
who said that the light of the body is the eye, and that if
the eye is healthy the whole body will be full of light. Maybe
in this case “light” can also mean “lightness.” With my eyes of
corrupted and corruptible flesh I’m afraid I see mostly darkness
by which I mean heaviness. How great is that darkness? Not
as great as the inner weightlessness of horses whose eyes perceive,
correctly I believe, the threat of annihilation in every windblown
dust mote of malignant life. All these years I’ve been watching
out warily in obvious places (in bars, in wars, in night cities and
nightmares, on furious seas). Yet what’s been trying to destroy
me has lain hidden inside friendly-seeming breezes, behind
soft music, beneath the carpet of small things one can barely see.
The eye is also a lamp, says Matthew, a giver of light, bestower
of incandescent honey, which I will pour more cautiously
over the courses I travel from now on. What’s that whisper?
Just the delicate sweeping away of somebody’s life.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5: 14-16
Some days I am dreaming awake with wide-open eyes. There is a slow motion quality to time as it flows from one hour to the next to the next, and I can only take it in, watching it happen. Life becomes more vivid, as in a dream — the sounds of birds, the smell of the farm, the depth of the greens in the landscape, the taste of fresh plums, the intensity of every breath, the reason for being.
There is lightness in all things, as the Creator intended.
Yet much of the time is rush and blur like sleepwalking, my eyes open but unseeing. I stumble through life’s shadows, the path indiscernible, my future uncertain, my purpose illusive. I traverse heaviness and darkness, much of my own creation.
Wake me to dream of light some more.