Friday, April 6, 2012

bewilderments of the eyes

"Any one who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind's eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye; and he who remembers this when he sees any one whose vision is perplexed and weak, will not be too ready to laugh; he will first ask whether that soul of man has come out of the brighter light, and is unable to see because unaccustomed to the dark, or having turned from darkness to the day is dazzled by excess of light."

~ Plato

I'm very tempted to leave this post with just the Plato quotation, because maybe it says everything I want to say.  Much more.  We wake up, pour our coffee, and begin talking about the light this morning, R. and I.  I don't know what other people talk about in the mornings, but this is not unusual for us, to begin the day noticing certain slants of light.  

The entire house was bathed in that snow bright light.  The sky at 7am was palest blue and there was a clarity to the light, a crispness, that you only get when there is snow. I will miss the winter light.  R. finished a large painting yesterday and took down my beloved pomegranate painting and replaced it with his new one.  It won't remain, but it's shocking and lovely to look at - partly because I'm so used to my god-sized fruit. Morning light can be the best for looking at paintings, I think.  Or maybe it's because our eyes are freshest then - we've come out of the light of dreams and the darkness of sleep, and are both less and more bewildered. 

I made these sour cherry cupcakes last night after dinner.  The light was going and normally I wouldn't have even tried, but I clicked away in spite of that, thinking how little I know about the light, about 'capturing' it.  And how I want to stretch myself, and to look more closely, and also from further away, if that makes sense. I want to know more about shadows and distance. 

How quickly the dark comes down upon us. 

And yet, still it's possible to find slivers of light.  To push the table closer to the window angled toward the setting sun.  

Are we coming out of the light, or going into the light? 

And likewise, when we meet someone, have they come from a place of light or from a place of darkness? How to steady them as their eyes adjust? 

How to steady ourselves?  


  1. So lovely--this quote, your reflection on it. A wonderful way to start the day.

  2. Yes, I agree with Lisa. What a lovely post. Last night at the Maundy Thursday service at our church, I noticed the sunlight in the upper windows fading slowly into darkness as the liturgy progressed towards its final end when the altar is stripped and the cross draped in black. Having entered the church during the light and then leaving it in the dark left a profound impression.

  3. Thank you for this very thought-provoking post. What a wonderful, empathetic way to consider the people that we meet. I will be thinking about your views on light all day. My own personal favourite times are first, when the spring morning sun blazes through the window panes in the front living room, an unannounced, but delightful visitor, lighting up the space with her vitality, and then, in the afternoon, her long embrace as she goes down slowly, reluctantly, into the west. Yes, are we going into, or coming out of the light?

  4. What a wonderful way to start the day, Shawna! Thank you for this lovely post. I also would like to comment on the new look of your blog. It's so delicate and feminine. I truly love it! Have a great weekend, Shawna :)

  5. Such a wonderful post. I love the quote and the words you wrote. Beautiful photos to go with your words!

  6. thanks for all the kinds words and for visiting...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...