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Night sky, the first day of spring, 2016. (Photo by Audrey Hackett)

Night sky, the first day of spring, 2016. (Photo by Audrey Hackett)

BLOG— The love that is the world

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I’m writing this late at night. The house is quiet, the neighborhood is quiet. A truck rolls slowly by and I can hear from the sound of its wheels that there’s water on the road. Rain, more rain, after a day of rain and sun and rain. We cranked the skylights open, we cranked them closed. Open. It felt almost nautical: like our house was a ship and we were tacking to the wind.

Earlier this evening, my husband and I stepped out onto our deck and saw a star. Just one, low on the horizon. Not enough to navigate by (I have a vague notion that navigation involves triangulation, which would require — let me see — a second star?). But in another sense, there was a certain promise of navigation in the single star: the fact that we could see it at all suggested something about unexpected openings. Holes in the sky. The cloud cover was thick, thick, thick, but here was this clear patch, and through it shone a star.

I do know that light enters at odd times. I’ve experienced it. I do know that the eye finds light — co-creates it — and so the cosmic keyhole that separated and joined the star and my eye tonight was a necessary contrivance of both. Starlight is starlight because of sight. And sight is sight because of starlight.

These late-night thoughts might seem heated, fevered. But what I’m getting at is that the world — the lost world, the world that for days or years altogether we may fail to see — is not just ours. It is us. We are it. Rain is rain, but rain is also fury, grief. Rain is the “small hands” of e.e. cummings’ lovely poem (familiar to all fans, as I am, of Woody Allen’s “Hannah and Her Sisters”). When rain pounds down it is the sob that inaugurates healing, and when it tapers or suddenly ceases, it is healing complete.

Reader, like you I have felt pain, and there are only two remedies: the world, and love. I’m not sure these are two. Theologians and my own deep instinct tell me the world is love — not that everything is pretty or gentle or kind, but that the world, like the dream mother none of us quite had, is always near, is never not near, is the hard root of earth and the soft lift of sky.

Spring is here, and spring is a good time to accept the love that is the world, to let it touch us awake. Sometimes this touch is rough, as when the wind chime clangs all night, putting a spring storm to music. And sometimes this touch is impossibly mild, as the touch of the wind must be tonight, for the chime is barely sounding, but it is sounding, (w)ringing unsuspected texture out of still air.

The house is steady; it keeps its course. We are sailing, sailing through a one-star night into tomorrow and the love of another day.


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