Season of Light: Illumination

Published November 25, 2011 by Susan Woodward

  We are now entering my favorite time of the year… the season of light.  While there is light all year round, and candles are just as cheap an alternative to electric light in July, there’s something magical about preparing for the return of the natural light.   I always get a very cozy feeling as I prepare to set up my tree filled with white lights.  It’s hard to try to figure out why that same feeling just doesn’t come about during the other eleven months of the year.  Maybe it’s the heat of summer.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that the sun doesn’t go down till about nine in August. But there is certainly something about the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas that makes me long for quiet evenings filled with candles and a lighted tree.

I could always just leave the tree up… I have been known to delay taking it down till March before.  I just love that soft glow.

I am so not a fan of harsh light.  It’s unflattering, unromantic, and unsympathetic to the aging process.

I guess, though, what I am most looking forward to this Season of Light is illumination.  I want the internal light bulb to go on and show me how best to proceed through this labyrinth.   I have a very strong sense that I am at some sort of crossroad.  The past two years have been filled with so many changes, and those changes have been preparing me for something.  And it’s that “something” that I still can’t identify.

At this point, I am soon to be relieved of the last major material item in my life… my house.   And that is very freeing in a way.  In a country that defines us by our material possessions, I am letting go of the one thing that most people in America seem to want.  Property.  Their name on a deed somewhere that says this plot of the Earth is “Mine”.   But I really don’t care about that anymore.  I did.  I wanted to plant forever roots as badly as anyone else who ever wanted the American Dream… that illusion of success.  All it did was tie me down in a financial pit that was difficult to climb out of.  In pulling up those roots, I gave myself permission to be free.

But free to do what?  Now that’s the question of the hour.  What is it I want?  To write, yes… and I can do that anywhere.  To teach?  Well… I do love being in the classroom, I will say that.  But it is becoming more and more of a burden than the joy I used to feel.   It’s harder when class sizes are growing and trying to keep up with paperwork that is threatening to overwhelm me, and state demands that seem downright unfair to both teachers and students.   I am teaching writing when what I truly want to do is write myself… and that realization does weigh on me.  I teach students about The Hero’s Journey, and all the while I still wonder where my own journey will take me.  Those snippets of time that I carve out for myself when not grading papers or going to meetings seem to just fly by when I am in the middle of some other world… one of my creation.  I love delving into the internal world of my imagination because I am so often surprised by what I find there.

Still…. what am I really free to do?

That’s where I want my illumination.  I want to bring my internal world into the light.  But like any expectant mother longing for the birth of her child, there is a lot of fear involved in the birthing process.   While a mother worries about the health of her child, a writer (at least this writer) worries about how his work will be received in this world.

It’s true that I will not know if anyone reads these words or not unless there is some feedback… and it’s true that I am okay with that.  But my novel is another story.  I want it to live.  I want it to grow.  I want it to be loved and appreciated just like any other mother wants for her child.

And so I look to the light for guidance.   With my warm cozy candles and white tree lights, I will continue to write the story of Francis and allow the light to lead me along on her path.  And via her path, I hope to find my own way.  That is what I am waiting for this holiday season… this time of preparing for the return of the light.  I am anticipating its warmth and will allow it to wash over my spirit, illuminating my true path, whatever it is and wherever it will take me.   I have freed myself of most material goods that have weighed me down, and I am open to what life has to offer.

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One comment on “Season of Light: Illumination

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