Anthem, by Leonard Cohen, performed by Deborah Levoy and Doug Pohorski.

How The Light Gets In

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack, a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in

Leonard Cohen

I always think of March as a time to start over. The snow begins to melt into the soil. Earthy scents waft through warm air. The old pale sun is gone, and the new sun, as if shining through a magnifying lens, aims down at us, melting our tense shoulders. We reach for a frisbee, coil back and release the disk to soar through the air, our body turning through the arc of the follow-throughWe are crackling with energy. We are all the way in. It’s time to exorcise the winter.

Blazing Star flower
Blazing Star, photo by Ron Erskine.

On this date last year this age-old seasonal dance was reversed. The bright yellow Blazing Stars were just beginning to bloom at our favorite hiking spot, we were making plans for summer backpacking, and I had just rehearsed for the first time with my brand new trio. I joked about “seeing them in two weeks” when the “lockdown” ended. And then the winter set in. 

Where do we find the light in this broken time, this broken world? During Black Lives Matter marches, young people have been blazing beacons as they take to the streets to demand the most basic right that has been shamefully and historically denied to Black people in this country. Millions of volunteers, who worked tirelessly to get out the vote, saved our country’s most imperfect democracy and fills my ailing heart with hope. The selfless bravery of first responders moves me to tears.

How did my nieces grow up so fast?

My niece, a resident doctor, was thrown into the Covid chaos last year during the PPE shortage. She continued to care for patients, while fearing for her own safety as well as the safety of her colleagues. Somehow she still beams with light, a sparkle in her eyes, always ready for a laugh, and so full of wisdom and joy. I’m sure you know someone like her. Or maybe I’m describing you. 

Here’s what I know about our light: we are mothers and fathers, tending every day to our children; health care professionals, working all hours to care for our patients; people who know that all species are as important as humans, tending to the health of wild places; musicians sending out songs of hope; activists fighting for truth and justice for all; scientists creating amazing vaccines in record time.

We are regular people dealing with illness, love, death, sadness, trying so hard to bring kindness and patience to everything we do. 

Every morning we send out our light, as best we can, and I imagine its soaring, invisible path, crackling with energy.

May we continue this journey into light. 

How the light gets in...Liberty Bell with crack in it.

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