The Light inside the Cave

I became (again?) a cave painter one recent morning, hyper-aware of wanting to inscribe something from deep inside, something from far beyond that would echo through and far beyond me.

I was in a new space, in every way: the first spring in a new residence, with a writing chair facing east. In the first days coming out of winter, the mornings had glowed dull with haze, or I was so late starting that the sun’s slant had risen overhead. But this time, the air was crystal clear and the sun pummeled hot and yellow directly into me from its first appearance above the horizon, across my hand. The shadows were stark, intensely dark. I got transfixed by the shadow of the tip of my pen as it hovered above, touched, moved upon, and disconnected from the paper I was writing on, descending and ascending in a twinkling cloud of light. Each touch was electrifying: the sensation of contact lit up a smile like that of a baby enchanted by watching its own hand, then stretching to push the mobile strung above the crib and make it waver and take new shape.

Suddenly millennia of humans reaching toward surfaces to make their marks ballooned into a grand mystery. I was moving – being moved – as part of it. Shadows danced on the wall of my writing pad, the way fires’ shadows trembled on cave walls and made the bison amble, snakes undulate. The notion of being able to convey something of substance by way of abstract words evaporated in the flare. Only pictures mattered.

Seems appropriate to revel in a sun-flickered cave painting on the first day of summer – solstices and equinoxes being the midpoints of seasons, with beginnings and endings six weeks before and after, near February 1, May 1, August 1, and November 1, familiar through many names in many places.

Will every May first, from here on, remind me of the luxurious shockwaves of pen-point touching paper? I hope so.

About Cat and the Gateways


Photo credit: marco microbi reckmann via stockxchange