Island of Light

Arriving home late this evening, I considered which story to tell. I had several ideas, however, due to the lateness of the day, I chose to write those stories when I have more time to spend crafting them. Instead, the subject of my story called out to me as I approached the turn onto my street.

Shining brightly, the newly installed lamp post on my corner illuminated my way home. Tonight was the first time that I have had the joy of driving beneath that welcoming pool of light.

It might seem silly to get excited about something so utilitarian. But happy I am about this addition to my neighborhood. Even though temps were in the low 20s, I walked down to the corner, to stand within the glow from the light.

I’ve loved lamp posts since my childhood. On warm summer nights in my city neighborhood, the kids would eventually congregate beneath those posts, knowing our parents would be calling us home shortly. We watched the bats dart in to feast on the insects circling the lighted globes. We jumped in and out of the rings of light ourselves, making up games, laughing and chatting, celebrations of childhood freedoms.

Later in my life I was enchanted by the old fashioned lamp post in the Chronicles of Narnia tales by CS Lewis. That light was a beacon to the children who discovered Narnia. Its light guided them into that magical land and when they were ready, the soft glow showed them the way home.

I so loved that lamp post that I have longed to have a replica in my backyard garden. It represents to me the same things that the Narnian lamp post does…hope, adventure, beauty and the light of home.

I still don’t have a lamp post in my backyard, but now I do have one on my street corner. Standing beneath the light tonight I realized something else.

On May 22, 2011, I stood in that very spot, on that corner, facing west. There wasn’t a lamp post. I was looking up though. The clouds were behaving oddly in the ominously black sky. I couldn’t see what was coming, but I could hear it. The roar of the approaching EF-5 tornado signaled impending destruction. I ran for cover.

My entire neighborhood was devastated by that storm. For weeks and weeks there was no electricity in the area. It was startling to drive down 20th Street, and see the unrelenting blackness to the south, blocks and blocks of darkness without a single light to break up the gloom. Work began in my part of town, by mid summer, and that work has continued for almost seven years. One of the most recent improvements was the installation of these new street lights.

I love that the darkness is now dispelled. I appreciate this bright beacon on my corner. It is an island of light, an oasis, where the darkness cannot gather. It offers hope and the promise that the light will always return, the light always wins. It calls to me. The light guides me home.