Sculpted by The Dying Light...Tree Flight 006 (1024x743) (2)

I had turned away

from the sun-kissed water

of late afternoon

to follow familiar walkways

back to my car.

I had no expectation

of sculpted light…

of tree in flight…

of tree-bird-light-flight.

I had forgotten

the power of the dying light.

As I near the end of the day that is my life on this earth, it is tempting to forget that this is the time when the light intensifies…offering magical moments to those who will see and believe. When I am open, I know that the things I see and record by drawing, sculpting, painting, or taking photographs are showing me who I am. The simple occupations of life are also capable of this. Since a few days after my surgery I’ve been going to rehab three afternoons a week. When it began I felt much diminished by my helpless right arm. Except for excruciating pain, it seemed to have died on me. It took surrendering to a sensitive and talented therapist to open my mind to the potentiality of healing. David has coached me through three months of hard work and tears, small victories and triumphant smiles. He has been patient, demanding, and encouraging. On Wednesday, he was back after an absence of two weeks, and I rejoiced to show him my progress…lifting both arms above my head like a proud child…taking in his unreserved pleasure and accepting his challenge of new exercises and heavier weights.

I think now of how different these exercises are from the nature-influenced exercises I practiced and taught for so many years.  Airth worked with gravity, yielding heavily that I might rise in an effortless way. Everything flowed. Yet, at rehab, I stand straight as a soldier, gather strength and push my way upward through the resistance in my shoulder and bicep. It is hard work and it hurts. These sessions remind me more of my early years in Ballet: The straight body with its unnatural turn out of the hip from which the leg must lift high and be held aloft.  That, too, was grueling hard work and pain was an essential part of each day. Then, too, the moments of brief triumph brought forth a child-proud smile in response to my teacher’s affirmation. I felt the years collapse as I left my session/class and began the drive home. I was still the young dancer smiling at small victories.

So what does this have to do with the magical hour before the end of day? Well, perhaps the whole day is contained and released in the hour before night falls; the whole life is contained and released in the latter years of our lives. If we will, we have access to every experience, idea  and emotion we have ever known.

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Going home

I took the less traveled route

and beheld

in an inner harbor inlet

a concentration of herons.

On this day of frigid winds

and low temperatures

the birds had found shelter.

I had found confirmation:

for the many were one

as the sun subsided.

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Camera in hand

I prayed with the herons…

one with the dying light.

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I was ready to accept the approach of night.


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3 Responses to “THE DYING LIGHT”

  1. Kendall Says:

    Oh Leif, so beautiful. Approaching the dying light with you. Me.

  2. Patsy Powers Says:

    So beautiful

  3. Gel Says:

    I have goose bumps reading this.
    And the photos are breath taking.
    I too am in rehab for a back injury, working with a physical therapist. And what she wants me to do is different than my explorations with dance in the past. But it feels right.

    I can relate to a lot of your thoughts about approaching the ‘dying light’ in aging. Our culture is so void of anything good about this phase of life, but I have inklings that there are golden nuggets.

    So I feel resonance with what you share here…..and comforted.

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