Little Lights

14 Dec

We’re born with millions
Of little lights shining in the dark
And they show us the way
One lights up, every time you feel love in your heart
One dies when it moves away

It’s late and I am just home from the library where I listened to Charles Temple, the high school English teacher talk about his appearance and success on Jeopardy. This little meeting, through the friends of the library, was the only event for tonight, and as such most everyone attends. A funny thing happened while I was there, though. Upon arrival, I introduced myself to the gracious lady at the door and she seemed genuinely surprised that as a tourist, I was coming to hear the talk. Bob and Brenda were there as well as several other folks. I was beginning to recognize them after all the walking I have done here. They began to introduce themselves over cookies and tea and I sat between two older ladies and listened intently to Charles’ story. I loved it.

I had forgotten how wonderful it is to hear a story well told, one that has direction, and turns, funny parts and serious parts. But the best aspect was our togetherness in listening to the tale, shoulder to shoulder, laughs and gasps mixing, thoughts and questions and the teasing of the teller. I began to notice how well everyone knows everyone and it struck me that I am pretty much the only one in the room who doesn’t know the story already. That’s when a big epiphany hit me. They came to hear the story again, to relive a part of their collective history.

I’m thinking this is what it means to have the gift of connection. This linked feeling of structure and sharing. It’s an extended family, where truly no one is alone, ever. That sense of belonging among non related people is so hopeful, so beautiful. I am reminded of listening to folks chat in the grocery store or at Gaffer’s about what jobs they are doing. Everyone has a sort of hodge podge of tasks which occupies their working lives seasonally, as in the old days when a worker’s efforts matched the growing and the harvest. This sense of season, of a connection to place even in its changing, overpowers everything here and I want that. Why?

After the talk, I met Charles and chatted with a few people, but I left the library soon to walk home down Back Road. One thing I love here is having to carry a flashlight at night.

It seems so trivial, so small, but the fact that I need to have this tiny light just for me, like a lantern, makes me feel significant.

Walking home, the wind is gentle and it is so quiet, so dark. I stop, look up and a star streaks across …then another…one more…. all shooting by.

Yes, I remember now. Meteor showers tonight. The houses are quiet, lit by tiny lights of their own. Stars in the air, on ground…stars all around. A path I know so well. Sandy road and small remnants of puddles. The darkness here is like no other; it’s comforting. I stop in front of houses to listen, to watch the twinkle of colored lights against soft blackness. Night in the village is not lonely. In the clear stars or in the mist and fog, the dark here is like sleep, a space to breathe in rest. Little lights in the sky, in my hand. Little houses lined with stars, on my path.

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