Light and shade

The road home was flooded by brilliant winter sunlight, criss-crossed with the deep, dark shadows of the trees. The light and shade fell upon me through the glass roof of the car as I drove, setting reality a-flicker like an old movie reel. It seemed appropriate as I looked back on the days and months behind me, taking stock. They too are unreal… they exist only in memory and consequence, yet their weight can crush us if we permit it.

Tomorrow sees the beginning of a new year and a new decade. I am old enough that the thought of seeing in the year twenty-twenty still seems like some impossibly futuristic dream… and young enough to know that seeing in twenty-fifty is not a complete impossibility.

Many of the strange and wonderful technological advances that graced the pages of science fiction books when I was young are now part of our everyday lives. We may not all have a Jetson-esque ‘Rosie’ to do our chores, but our homes are filled with incredible gadgetry. We have adapted to its presence and learned to take it so much for granted that our behaviours as a species are changing… not always for the better. We are amazingly adaptable creatures, though and the void left by what we unlearn or leave behind will be filled with new skills, I have no doubt.

But of all the decades I have lived, this one has been both the worst and the best. And the two are so intimately entwined that it is difficult to separate them, as the one depends on the other.

In 2010, my son was stabbed through the brain and left for dead in a coma… every parent’s worst nightmare. For the past ten years, I have run the gamut of human and maternal emotion as I have watched his journey, through the extremes of fear, hope and grief… and watched him answer them with courage, determination and a sheer, bloody-minded refusal to be beaten. Even by himself.

Ten years on and there are still days of both utter despair and of unbounded optimism. It has not been an easy journey, for any of us… but, in many ways, it has been a beautiful one; in which we have seen the very best of human kindness and character as a direct response to the effects of the worst.

On a personal level, I have played a part in the establishment of the Silent Eye… and that too has been an amazing journey and one that has changed my life in so many ways, allowing me to explore aspects of self that I would not have believed existed. The price has been learning to look myself squarely in the eye and acknowledge a good many uncomfortable things that ego would rather not see, but in doing so, I also found a few positive things too that I would never have expected to find.

Exploring the land with Stuart and with purpose has been a delight. Even though our travels are rarer than it may seem, the adventure is constant as flashes of understanding and glimpses of unknown wonders continually reveal themselves as we work with what we learn. It is a journey that demands dedication, time and energy…but the rewards are boundless.

It is always the way… the scales, in constant motion, seek balance. We seldom live anything that is wholly dark or wholly bright. Shadows are not the absence of light, merely light interrupted… and we do need their darkness in order to notice and appreciate how bright the light can be.

As I drive, winter pretends it is spring. There are buds on the trees, daffodils sending green spears up through sodden earth. The seasons run as they will. Nature does not count the passing years; there is only the continuing cycle of growth, decay and new life nourished by old. And I wonder at our dependence on time to measure the quality of a life. Surely our experience of living should count for more than years?

What will the next year…the next decade…  bring? Who knows? I am just glad there are still adventures ahead and hope, to paraphrase a well-known quote, that I can stand at the end of my days and say I embraced every bit of the life I was given.

24 thoughts on “Light and shade

  1. I will always follow Nature’s lead, as she has been the one constant in my life that I can always rely on. Like me, she is the most stubborn creature and will carry on doing what she does best for us all, regardless of what is going on around her.
    In the coming year, I must remember that…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You certainly have had a most interesting and emotional 10 years, Sue. We have seen a lot of change in our country over the past 10 years and most of it is not for the better for its people. It will be interesting to see what the next few years bring, actually, the next few weeks may be fine or may bring complete chaos.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a lovely post Sue..
    At 63, I am into my 7th decade of life. I still remember as a teenager thinking that at the turn of the century I would only be 43, celebrating my 44th birthday in 2000. Now that time is twenty years behind me, but hopefully I will see a few more decades begin.
    Life is a wonder, full of wonderful things, even if I don’t understand them or how they work. I respect and enjoy Nature and all it has to offer in all its glory. It produces little miracle every day..
    Hope and determination can never be taken away from us as individuals. I embrace life, even more so now, and appreciate everything I have and everyone I love. I am blessed to have someone to share it all with.
    Happy New Year to you, your family and friends. May 2020 bring sunshine to your hearts

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Di…and this is a beautiful response. I’m into my seventh decade myself… and (although the odd bit of me disagrees!) don’t feel any older than I did at the turn of the century. I am enjoying growing older (apart from the aforementioned awkward bits 😉 ) and nature keeps reminding me of the rightness of the process.

      Happy new year to you all xxx


  4. “Shadows are merely light interrupted” – I love how you think and how you put your thoughts into words. This was a beautiful, reflective post. Life is full of the unexpected, sometimes good and sometimes bad. Like you, I look forward to what’s ahead. I just hope I can stand up and remember names. Happy New Year to you, Sue!

    Liked by 1 person

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