Seeing in Color

Somewhere, out at the edges, the night/Is turning and the waves of darkness/Begin to brighten the shore of dawn./The heavy dark falls back to earth/And the freed air goes wild with light,/The heart fills with fresh, bright breath/And thoughts stir to give birth to color. – John O’Donohue

Can you feel it? The shift?

For the young and mid-agers, it’s defiance and impatience that has driven them to walk through a door into the world we’ve all been waiting for: a world where fear doesn’t run every decision that we make. Where freedom means taking one’s own path because experts keep changing their minds and science keeps shifting.

For us older folks, the shift has arrived when we got that first shot – and for many of us, that second one as well. Safety had arrived. There has been literal jubilation and a sense of being unshackled. It appeared even as the life-saving injection was just entering our weary bodies and freeing our tender spirits.

My high school and sorority friends have been zooming this year. Every one of us has reached a mountain high as we have stepped out of the cocoon – hesitantly sometimes, to be sure – and back into a more hopeful way of life.

We are positively giddy about turning 80! And so grateful to have been some of the early vaccine receivers. We could take a deep breath and finally seriously consider our new way of living now.

Transitions take time, as we’re finding out. We don’t just step through a newly opened door and resume life as it once was. Life is not going to ever be the same as it was a year ago. It never is.

Life is always renewing itself, as are we. Even at 80. Who knew?

Amazon has been a lifeline for many of us during this pandemic, but we’re starting to get back to supporting our local businesses and walking through the actual doors of commerce to supply our needs. Getting COVID could too often mean a death sentence at our age. Many of us have not felt that we had the luxury of just throwing caution to the winds and getting out there in public in the ways that the younger generations have done.

Even amid the always-present tumultuous political and cultural worlds that are constantly before us on social media, we are putting on hope like a colorful new garment that declares that we are back in business!

And in the northern tier of states, spring has arrived – some say, a little early this year – and perhaps that’s a gift in its own right. As if to say that nature saw us in our suffering and had pity on us.

The pandemic is still with us, of course. But once we’ve walked through that door that returns us to a new life, a renewed life, there is only moving forward. “The heavy dark falls back to earth/And the freed air goes wild with light…”

It may or may not be full steam ahead, when we come out of this pandemic darkness of these long months. It can take a bit to get used to the bright sun again. But we’re determined and ready to do just that. Each of us in his or her own way.

Our thoughts are stirring indeed, and we are seeing in color again.

And I’m very okay with that!