Shades of Light

This time of year all around our globe, two legged mammals called humans are celebrating the light. Right now, in the northern hemisphere we’re jumping for joy knowing that the longer days of light are returning. In the southern hemisphere they’re jumping for joy because they’re experiencing the longest day and the abundant play of summer – some people even dread turning toward the dark again.

You, who have followed this blog for several years, know that I stand on my dimly lit soapbox every winter Solstice to yell: I love the dark. I beg you – no, I DARE you – to celebrate its return next summer here in the north.

Please understand this. I’m not advocating for the dark forces to take over the world. I’m simply saying that the dark is the womb of all creativity, including the universe. The dark inspires mystery and illuminates wisdom. For instance, in the dark we become aware of the galaxies above, that immense vastness that reminds us of the miracle of life on this tiny globe. The dark literally elicits awe, allowing us to marvel at the sheer wonder of being here. Lovers inextricably intertwined, the marriage of dark and light gives birth to the whole shebang. I mean that seriously, which leads me to the power of value.

What do I mean by value? Value is, in this case, shades of grey – how dark is the darkest dark and how light is the lightest light. In photographic terms, value is identified by the grey scale.

And shades of grey define everything. Value is valuable! With no shadow, we’re blinded by the light. Value embodies the full range of greys to reveal form, perspective, depth, texture, to give shape to all things.

living on the edge (551x800)

Recently I’ve stumbled on the glorious constraint of making Artist Trading Cards ( ATC ). Tiny images, 2.5” x 3.5”, I discovered that ATC packs even come in black. I have loved the luminous mandala technique taught by Judith Cornell and have learned from her books how to draw a complex design with white pencil on black paper before adding any color at all. I grabbed my white pencil and a black ATC and voila, a lifetime ago or maybe about ten days, my life changed. These wee images have revealed my devotion to shades of grey. I realize as I write to you, though, that my passion wants to be called: devotion to shades of light. I love that word play. Shades of light describe my truth. I cannot stand in the sun without casting a shadow, even if it’s only under my feet.

12. Tuning into the Moon (534x800)

The coupling of light and dark is inviolate, nature’s way of teaching us how life works. That truth compels me to stay open. Shades of light ground me, make me, make us, solid. Thinking white is right and black is wrong traps us in literalism, …over which wars are fought. Insisting that the light alone brings enlightenment may be modern man’s Achille’s heel.

May we choose to live more metaphorically.
13. Finding Each Other (523x800)

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About Deborah

Deborah Jane Milton, Ph.D. is an artist, mentor, and eco-psychologist, mother of four and grandmother of eight.
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14 Responses to Shades of Light

  1. Ruth says:

    This is my first discovery of your blog and a very happy discovery it is. As I celebrate the fullness of light (southern hemisphere), I applaud your celebration of the dark, and I turn toward it with happy anticipation. May you enjoy many shades of light in the coming year.

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    • Deborah says:

      Thank you Ruth for your rich perspective. And I am so happy you found my blog because now I have found yours. Your poetry is exquisite. May I read your most recent one to a small group of friends as part of a sweat lodge ceremony, acknowledging you as writer of course?

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      • Ruth says:

        Goodness – you are more than welcome. Thank you for the wonderful compliment Deborah! I don’t imagine I will normally be including my own poetry (it doesn’t happen that often!). But this moment of pause in the normal working world has given me wonderful opportunities. The rest of the time I shall be glorying in the wisdom and beauty I find on my travels. Your site is truly beautiful – I shall enjoy returning often.

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  2. Carol Lunan says:

    Beautiful! I miss you Deborah, Carol

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  3. Jean says:

    As you do so many times, you have struck a chord with me. Of course, the name of your blog is me, all over the place. Then, I saw you used the term “shebang” in this current article, which I also used in an email last week. It must be that timing thing – our same year of high school graduation. Your way of expressing your feelings is so masterful and clear. Maybe that’s what masterful means? Keep doing all you do and thanks. Warmly, Jean

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  4. I love this! Contrast is the key for deep understanding and acceptance, instilling the gift of gratitude! ❤

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    • Deborah says:

      Thank you, Donna. I’m pleased that you found my blog because now I have found yours. What a marvel you are! And I’m intrigued to discover your word wombman because only day as I think of the title for my painting of Gaia I was thinking there’s got to be a better term than “woman and/or man”. I was thinking wo/man but wombman is so much better. I’m thinking you might enjoy reading some of my older posts about birthing ( Oct 11, 2010 ) and being born into the metaphorical womb of the earth ( May 22, 2012 ). So glad you here at this time!

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  5. shannon goose says:

    Thank you my dear friend. Love the part about shades of grey. And I too like the ATC, though I don’t trade them with other artists they serve as a meditation…and also travel well. A card and a micron and you have a tiny piece of magic anytime, anywhere. When Omie was injured I did one of her on a black card as a prayer for recovery.
    This year my dark time was spent ‘stopping’ after a very busy and shifting summer. It wasn’t as if I chose to stop but more of a forced stop; forced by darkness, forced by snowfall, etc.. No juice for poetry or artwork. Very little reading, or contemplating…it was weird. I did a lot of sitting, struggling with guilt about my lack of motivation, and staring at nothing. Maybe it was stillness required after such a vigorous summer. I really can’t say why that happened for sure, but about the time of solstice I started dreaming about bears. A lot. And in hind-sight I recognize something; I am culturally driven to ‘do’ even while the darkness calls me to ‘be’.
    I will be visiting the Peninsula this spring and hope to see you then.
    Many blessing for the coming year.

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  6. Deborah says:

    So very blessed to hear from you Shannon. Is your email the same? Cell phone? Let’s connect via one or the other. Miss you profoundly.

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