Sunlit Reflections

Days like this, as I sit and peer out the window, the Emily Dickinson line I read in my youth returns to me, “There’s a certain slant of light…” It’s the soft, warm yellow sun of spring and how it glints off surrounding objects, shimmering in shifting patterns of light that is heartbreakingly lovely. It’s so delightful as to make me feel nostalgic and a little melancholic because I remember how fleeting these moments are. 

I am overcome with Proustian remembrances of times past–the first warm days of spring at the park, swinging with my best friend; the sweetest day of exploration through sprawling daffodils when studying abroad in London; lemon pound cake and coffee at an outdoor cafe table in the weeks after leaving my ex-husband; strolls with my new husband around the pond by our former apartment; the cool breeze on my face when riding my bike for the first time each season. The memories commingle with transient fragments that have gone unnamed but remain lodged in my mind more as an overall feeling than anything else, much like the way deja vu hits you in the solar plexus, some ancient part of our being both foreign and familiar at the same time. The collision of joy and longing, of heavy grounding and lightness of being. 

Pushing through long, dark days of Wisconsin winters, holding out for the return of the birds and green buds on trees, tulip shoots, rabbits munching grass, means the start of spring is both the literal and figurative light at the end of the tunnel. It’s so beautiful I could cry. It’s so simple but balloons each sunlit moment with hope, a hope so desperately needed in a world that’s been gradually tearing itself to bits in uglier, crueler, and more shocking ways each year. 

We need to let the sunshine and hope surround us, let our skin absorb it into the core of our being where we can keep believing better days really are yet to come. On quiet April afternoons such as this, it’s not too hard to do, but knowing the light flickers, fades any minute, means I can’t cling too tightly. I must hold the joy delicately and for the shapeshifting and ephemeral gift it is. It reminds me: Be here now. Be present, bittersweet as it is.

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