night and day


Everything was new for our new year: new place, new people, new traditions. We drove up to Raleigh, as Andy and Barney used to say, for their First Night celebration, one of the grandchildren of the original First Night in Boston. We heard some good bluegrass, Ginger saw an African dance company, and we spent the last couple of hours of 2007 listening to Tift Merritt. Best of all, we got to watch the “Raleigh Acorn” drop at midnight. The video is sideways because I’m still learning how to use my camera.

Before the year ended, Tift closed her concert with a song called “Shadow in the Way.”

Before a word is spoken,
Everything is broken,
Even what you hid inside.
The world has let you down,
wrung the shame out of your pride.

But even as you falter,
Like sunlight on the water,
You shine on my face.
This darkness in your heart,
It’s just a shadow in the way.

When the fire leaves,
When no one believes you,
When you give yourself away
To a stranger on the road
Who gives you nothing in exchange.

Even when the door shuts,
Even though the night cuts
Like a silver blade,
In the morning you will find
It’s just a shadow in the way.

Though we’re caught in the darkness,
Don’t be afraid.
Though we’re caught in the darkness,
Don’t be afraid.
This world of sorrow,
It’s just a shadow.

Got to get up again,
Let the light in,
Throw your tears away.
That mountain looks so high,
It’s just a shadow in the way.

We knew no one in the crowd when we got there. We talked with the couple standing next to us for the concert, Jay and Andrea, and came away with a new connection.

In Shakespeare’s plays, the problems begin in the city and the characters move out into nature to try and work them out. We didn’t find or create any new problems up in Raleigh last night, but we did head for the woods this afternoon as a way to begin our new year. We joined the members of the Eno River Association for their annual New Year’s Day Hike. The day was sunny and in the low fifties, and the setting was pastoral and pacifying. Again, we were surrounded by people we didn’t know, yet we came away with new acquaintances and connections.

Tonight, we are back in the city again, getting ready for what tomorrow brings. The days ahead will certainly hold their share of sunshine and shadows and perhaps less than their share of solutions. Certainly, we have many new connections to make in the days ahead and many to tighten and maintain.

As for the shadows, I think they’re a crucial part of the deal. If the darkness were complete, there would be no shadows. There has to be some light somewhere.



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