Friday, June 12, 2015

A half-circle of light.

Last night was black and stormy. I was driving home from my friends' house, a route that cuts a winding path through a swathe of unlit bush. As I rounded a bend, a tiny car up ahead of me swung out round a further bend. It was one of those moments where, for just a second, the mask of humdrum falls away and you get to see life for the poetry that it really is.

The car was just a gleam in the dark, a flash of glossy black with an arc of yellow light from the headlights, filling out a semicircle in front of it. It looked like a tiny beetle with a torch strapped to its head. It was brave. There was something fierce in the way it cut a path through the darkness before it, seeing only a few metres ahead at a time.

I'm not a fan of that way of doing things. I don't want to see only a few metres ahead. I'd like to live with the high beam switched on. Better yet, I want to drive in full sun, where I can see the path stretched before me, where I can look ahead to the horizon. I like to estimate the bumps in the road before I reach them. I want to plot a course so I can stay on track. I'd like to avoid potholes instead of coming across them in the dark and being forced to swerve. I want to be ready in case a kangaroo leaps from a shrubby block of shadows. I want to be in control.

There's nothing brave, though, about being in control. It requires no courage. A life lived in full sun is a charmed life; the real world has some dark patches. And though my anxious heart wants to see what's waiting around the corner, I'm glad for the tiny half-circle of light stretched out before me. It's just enough brightness to keep me chugging on.
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