The following sweet words were penned by our dear friend Sally Wilson who resides now in that paradise of beloveds who have preceded us on into—in the words of another late dear friend Jules Delambre—the next great adventure. It seems such a long time ago since she wrote them, handed them smiling to us, or perhaps it was only a moment ago as spiritual Providence ignores time. They hung inconspicuously on our wall these many years, since the night she gave them to us, a gift. I am honored to place them on my blog.
LIGHTS ON THE HILLSIDE
For Don and Sylvia, whose lights shine brightly
It’s Friday, the rag-tag end of the work week. The body is tired and the soul droops. Dancing beckons, but I wonder how it could be better than a hot cup of tea, a good book and early to bed.
Go out again? No. Too hard.
But I remember the last time and go. Not in anticipation but remembrance. An act of the will.
But that always changes when I start up the rise and top the hill onto the ridge, seeing the world laid out before me. Then the nights become filled with myriad possibilities. Infinite sky and wonder. My spirits start to rise, and the energy I had thought lost returns.
Some nights, cresting the ridge at early dusk, I am drawn by the lights of the farms scattered across the darkening landscape. Other nights, the winter sky covers the world with its awesome blackness, stark and clear. But tonight is softer. A mackerel sky, immense and mysterious, fills the air with masses of huge cloud scales backlit by a full moon. I give thanks to see such a thing. The spectacle absorbs me until suddenly I drop into a valley again, but now, with a lighter heart. Now I am looking forward, not back. My eyes search the darkness.
Then I see it—up on the hillside—a house ablaze with lights. That’s it.
I think of what such blazing lights have meant to travelers of old. To ancient ancestors coming in from a hunt, to the travel weary coming to a town, to prophets coming from the desert. The blazing lights—beacons drawing them to food and warmth, civilization, family, friends and fellowship. Blazing lights shining forth a welcome greeting.
These modern lights I see are beacons too, with their signal of food and warmth, friends and fellowship, song and dance, much laughter and more love.
As did the blazing lights of old, these lights bespeak welcome and shelter, sanctuary if you will, though of a different kind. I do not fear wild beasts or highwaymen. Do not need a roaring fire. Do not fear a cold night’s sleep on snowy ground. But modern threats are just as dangerous, lurking in darkness to make their attack. The outer darkness now resides within, but blazing lights on a hillside still signal the sanctuary I seek and need.
The lord and lady of the house, the lighters of these lights, throw out their welcoming arms to embrace weary travelers, hugs all around and the night gives way to community, a family of friends offering comfort for the body and spirit. In this house, chaos once again is kept at bay. Emptiness is filled with a friend’s embrace. Fatigue hears music and dances.