Line of sight

Untitled photo

Out in the woods today when I took this picture I was reminded of Blake's timeless stanza from his Auguries of Innocence.

"To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour"


I was taking pictures on the theme of Autumnal water and enjoying the many faces of water, the playful sparkling, purling becks; and the deeply mysterious muddy pools whose intractable faces mirrored a version of our own world seamlessly back at me. 

And then when photographing this single water droplet I realised it acted as a lens, and that whole trees were brought into into focus within the body of this tiny small droplet.  This seemed to be offering a clear line of sight into and through, which seemed a fitting metaphor for these late October days of renewed pandemic intensity.  Michael Rosen's poem "We are going on a bear hunt" spells out the obvious pandemic wisdom: 

Can't go over it

Can't go under it,

What should we do? "

Let's go through!"

Yet what's making this so  extra hard for so many people right now is the lack of certainty: how long will this go on for?;  what happens next?; how should I organise my life and my household now?; Will i be Ok?; What if I'm not OK? The 24/7 news reels are full of indignant people demanding answers that don't exist - there is no giant crystal ball.

But one way or another we are going through this pandemic - individually and also collectively. What sometimes helps is to focus on the vision, to use this time to find that clear line of sight towards a fabulous future that we want to be a part of, individually and collectively.

The fourth century monks of the desert were advised to look to their cells for answers - "your cell will teach you everything "  - the life of a contemplative monk then wasn't easy, fraught with thoughts, doubts and all sorts of inner demons, just as two thousand years later the lives of locked down citizens during this pandemic are also not easy.

Everyone has their own pandemic path to forge. But what my photo of a water droplet reminds us is to also take some time to look for that line of sight. If you look you will find it - a clear line between the here and now and the new shape of our individual and collective post-pandemic future. And having seen it this time will perhaps take on a new meaning: Still difficult and uncertain but a perhaps also a time that allows us to envision something new and needed?

Every seven years was designated a sabbath year in early Israel and every 50th year - at the end of seven cycles of seven years- was a Jubilee sabbath or more correctly a "year of release" .  Leviticus 25:13 "It shall be a jubilee to you; and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family." Literally and figuratively if this is a year of release, then what is are we being released from, and also what are we being released towards?

I don't know. I have no doubt that our cells, our homes and our families will teach us. It may not be easy, there may be a demon or two to wrestle,  but there is somewhere a line of sight through to the other side of this pandemic for all of us - individually and collectively. We need to do the work and look for it.

AUTUMN 2020


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