“I have noticed that when all the lights are on, people tend to talk about what they are doing – their outer lives. Sitting round in candlelight or firelight, people start to talk about how they are feeling – their inner lives. They speak subjectively, they argue less, there are longer pauses. To sit alone without any electric light is curiously creative. I have my best ideas at dawn or at nightfall, but not if I switch on the lights – then I start thinking about projects, deadlines, demands, and the shadows and shapes of the house become objects, not suggestions, things that need to done, not a background to thought.”— Jeanette Winterson
Lately I’ve been drawn to wonder and awe and adventures. There is a part of me that wonders if this is the post-Covid phase we anticipated. Remember in March 2020 when the world stood still and many of us (not all of us, that’s for sure) were at home trying to figure out how to make sense of any of it? Some of us were in pajama pants for weeks or months (or… years?). Some of us were baking bread and tending gardens. Some of us were zooming every hour on the hour. Some of us were managing child care and workloads and virtual assignments of all sorts. Some of us were cooking and walking more. Some of us were working harder than ever before. What a strange time it was and still is.
One of my biggest fears at that time was that I would settle back into the frenzied, disconnected, distracted, and busy-to-be-busy energy that consumed my days pre-COVID. I don’t think that has happened just yet, but I feel something settling that makes me uncomfortable. I don’t ever want to go back to COVID life as we knew it, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss some moments of it. Perhaps some of it has to do with the fact that it is March again and I can feel the energy and remember some of how I felt back in March 2020 because outside kind of looks and feels the same?
In this weirdly reflective time, I’ve been watching A LOT of videos about the Northern Lights, Svalbard, Swedish vegan channels, and drawn to any and all things cozy. I want twinkle lights in every room. I want fires and darkness. I want pastries baking in the oven. I want flickering candles and to hear the crunch of snow under my feet. I want a big, star-filled sky with Northern Lights. I want to experience the inexplicable. I am craving awe, wonder, and joy. I am kind of reveling in uncertainty.
After finding the quote I started this post with on a friend’s Facebook page, it helped me frame what I’ve been feeling. And so as I make my way through this strange time, I wonder if I’m alone in this? I hope we can hold on to that creative part of ourselves long enough to make something awe-inspiring with it. I believe that each one of us — no matter who we are — needs to know that awe-producing part of ourselves. Or, maybe for those of us who don’t want to produce it, that we may find the time and space to experience it.
In the work I do every day, we talk a lot about numbers. We talk a lot about impact. We talk a lot about many things, but we rarely talk about wonder and awe. My work revolves around young people and they have shown me that awe, wonder, and joy can be found every day if we just look for it. I think we adults have some big work to do in that department,
As for me, I’m going to find those Northern Lights. The real ones and the inner ones. Sending big love to y’all.
Tagged: awe, nordic, northern lights, svalbard, wonder