The Day the Light Overtakes Me …

Yesterday, I walk into the woods and into autumn’s first blush:  red dogwoods and the crackle of dry leaves underfoot.

And I find myself breathing a deep sigh that feels — strangely — like relief.

Autumn is usually a hard season for me, in spite of the goodness of hot cider and apple-picking, boots and flannel and blankets.  I guess that’s because I’m a summer girl, and fall spells the end of a season in which I feel most alive, most myself.  Usually, I walk into the red-tinted forest and feel the first breath of winter on the wind.  The death of everything green.

But this year is different.

This year, along with the fear, I feel hope.


Can I tell you a secret — a secret that those who love me best already know?  This has been a hard summer for me.  I’ve made some terrible relational decisions in recent months — trusted people I should have held at arm’s length.  Allowed my patience to be mistaken for permissiveness. My kindness stretched into shapes that felt all wrong.

And believe me:  I don’t say this with even a hint of self-pity…  This is no one’s fault but mine.

As a result, I’ve walked around for half the summer with a shadow perched on my shoulder, the way some old ladies carry a trained monkey or a pet parakeet.  On the bad days, that shadow dug its claws into my clavicle, pressed a beak to my ear and muttered the same three mocking phrases over and over again — I won’t repeat them here — until it was hard to hear the song of the cicadas.

The wind in the treetops.

The water over the rocks.



In the midst of this season of shadows, I’ve been finding light strewn across my path right and left.

I can’t even begin to put into words the way my cup has been overflowing lately:  the way new friends and old friends and complete strangers have showered me with love and affection, openness and positivity and joy.  They’ve done this without being asked to do so, without even knowing why I needed it.  Sometimes I’ve felt like a beggar on the side of the road, opening my palms as each stranger passes, and one day God himself walked by and, instead of dropping a coin in my cupped hands, he heaped on me so many handfuls of gold that I don’t know what to do with it all.

And I know I’m mixing metaphors.  Leaving so much unsaid.  So I’ll just say this:

Like so many things, the joy and the pain, the shadow and light come wrapped together in the same box.

And this, too, is beauty.


So yesterday:  I walk into the forest.

The light is lying there on the path, hard-angled and very gold.

And I don’t know why, but suddenly I want to know what my face looks like, in this moment.  I want to capture the sight of myself in this strange season — a season of Shadow and Light — which is beginning to feel not at all like Autumn, but like a second Spring.

So I pull out my iPhone.

I hold it up and take a photo of myself without looking.

I take another photo.

And another.

And after a moment or two, I look down again and scroll through the images I’ve just taken, and I see this:


And this:


And this:


I see myself for exactly what I am:  a frail, foolish and good-hearted creature, being overtaken completely by the Light.


You, too. ❤


{Wondering why I take photos of myself?  Self-portraiture is one of the best and most beautiful things that’s happened to me.  You can read about my body-image project, Same Body, Second Glance, here.  I hope you’ll take a few photos of your own. <3}


  1. I love that you identify what is causing the darkness and have recognized the light within to conquer it. I also love seeing the photos of that light that now designates. Beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I too have found myself making these unsavory choices. It has taken the past three month of working harder than I ever have to take even the smallest steps forward and gain some of the hope I once held all the time. I’m happy you let the light overtake you ; It’s a lovely sensation.

    Liked by 1 person

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