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Embrace the Gloaming

Leave it to an Anglican priest to use a Victorian-style word like "gloaming" to describe what most people might call twilight. Hear me out. First, the word -- derived from an ol' Scottish term -- is IMHO far more evocative of the mysterious quality of this hour. Second, the word "twilight" is, alas, now forever associated with a certain vampire story. So: gloaming it is.

The word came to mind when I went out for a run a bit later than usual, as the sun began to go down and the air was both close and refreshing. By the time I was on my way back to the car, the atmosphere had changed eerily. The only creatures besides me on the trail were rabbits, birds and the occasional, I don't know . . .what was that scuttling in the bushes?

Because I'm a true nerd, with deep dive knowledge of all kinds of obscure literary references, my mind went to the poem by Christina Rosetti, entitled "Goblin Market".

The narrative poem -- crafted by this noble half Victorian and half Italian sister of painter Dante -- tells the scary tale of two sisters, Laura and Lizzie. One evening, Laura followed the call of goblins into the glen to come "taste their wares". Hmmm. Needless to say, thing go a bit awry for Laura. Luckily, her sister Lizzie saves her from peril, as true sisters do.

Later in her life, at the end of the poem, Laura tells this cautionary tale to children and reminds them

"For there is no friend like a sister

In calm or stormy weather;

To cheer one on the tedious way,

To fetch one if one goes astray,

To lift one if one totters down,

To strengthen whilst one stands."

It is October, and my way has been rather stormy of late -- so I soothed myself by recalling those sisters, those women who have and are fetching, lifting and strengthening me during the exhausting tedium.

As darkness crowded in, I suddenly remembered what we tell our children in an Episcopal curriculum called "Godly Play", whenever we snuff out the candle at the end of our class (a coveted activity, which comes with the use of an adorable, child-sized snuffer. Fun.)

As the snuffer is lifted, curls of smoke begin to rise and the teacher observes: watch the light. It is not gone, it has just changed. Now the light is everywhere. The light is everywhere.

I remembered well that, even when

darkness closes in on us, when we feel uncertain and afraid, the light is still there, all around us.

It made me feel better and I hope it cheers you too.

Yours in the gloaming,



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