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Storm Light

by in Dark Hope, Through the Lens

I’ve been beating myself up for the past few days.

On Sunday, I had the rare of experience of being alone with silence and my camera, homeward bound on the highway.

The day’s weather was unpredictable. In the 30 minute drive, I wore sunglasses, turned on the windshield wipers and blasted myself with cold, and then hot, air. (For those of you in Maine, basically it was a normal day.)

When the weather’s unpredictable, there’s really only one thing I can count on. I should have my eyes wide open.

The combination of storm and sun is the absolute best light. It creates a dark, deep, dense gray sky, so when the sun illuminates a scene, the vibrance amplifies. All growth looks healthier, greener. All whites are fresh snow clean.

Beauty exists when storm and sun intersect, when they share the same space, at the same time.

About half way home, I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye: storm sky touching dark ocean, white boats bright from the sun. Why didn’t I pull over? That’s what I’ve been muttering to myself for the last few days.

I got off the interstate an exit later already feeling the effects of regret. I thought surely I’d find another moment, another storm and sun scene to capture. But I didn’t. It doesn’t happen often, so when beauty is there, I better have eyes to see.

And when my eyes spot the beauty, I better pull over and shutter my lens.

The best light isn’t found on the “best” days, on the days marked by bluebird skies and blatant sun. Part of what I love about camera-in-hand is the discipline of seeing, of acknowledging the potential for beauty in all things, in all lights. In sun, in storm. In joy, in pain.

Life’s a lot like this, too. We yearn for the sunny days, moments that are all bliss, no blunder, no pain. Those moments have their place, for sure, but like Maine in spring, they’re rare. More often we need to look for the light in the middle of the storm, for the place where growth is amplified, where a split second reveals a break in the storm, a sunny spot in an otherwise dreary day.

But we need to be ready to see it, willing to have our eyes wide open. It comes quickly, briefly, leaves suddenly, sadly.

But when we see it, we realize there’s nothing better than light in a storm.

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