Sweetness and Light

Wake up at 5 am and gaze upon one of our little creations who had come into our bed in the night. Big two-year-old head, thin neck and skinny shoulders, breathing softly next to me. A small miracle with big attitude, quiet now, practically purring. I slip out of bed and into the morning on a walking meditation. It is one of those mornings after a stormy night where blue skies lead to a bank of black clouds to the east just covering the rising sun, giving a sense of great anticipation for the day ahead. Words like “creation” and “glorious” keep coming into my head as I try to concentrate on my body and breathing.

I remember how large a world “creation” was to a little boy sitting in Sunday school. “God in his Creation” was like a commandment in itself. The start and finish of all we knew. But I was a decidedly skeptical kid and it never took – that version of the universe. It wasn’t long before “creation” seemed a tiny word in relation to my very slow comprehension of a more scientific view of how the Universe unfolded. Creation by some deity in six days seemed tiny and suspiciously fictionalized up against 13 billion years of the incomprehensibly complex and unfolding of our, again, incomprehensibly large universe. The simplicity of the former was a great bore in light of the great mysteries of the latter.

Bill Bryson does a wonderful job of describing for lay people those mysteries in his book “A Short History of Nearly Everything.” I have the audio book and particularly enjoy his voice. He’s obviously brilliant and with a great sense of humor. Worth it for anyone interested in how science and the scientists of note have over time helped us understand and define the world in which we life.

Walking around Lake Como I am treated to one of those moments when the sun, still covered by the black clouds, manages to cascade some light over the edge. You’ve seen in depicted in hundreds of paintings over the years. It was often used to signify “God in His Heaven” and it does a great job especially in light of the fact that the sun was one of our earliest gods and probably the one that makes the most sense. It gives us life, keeps us alive under its gaze, and is there when we die. Our ancestors, before understanding much about the firmament, could only have wondered at its heat, where it goes every night, why it sometimes hides behind great black clouds that rain and throw lightening down upon us, why every so often, it obscures itself with a disk in the middle of the day. God in his Heaven, indeed.

Now I will go upstairs to awaken them little creations to a new and gorgeous day. We like to open the shades and say, “Look! It’s another day full of possibilities!” And we like to give each other loads and loads of ever-changing nicknames. Today I am going to call ’em Sweetness and Light.

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