My love affair with this website is deep and passionate. Dipping into light is a meditation on life’s bounty. It pays homage to the generations of poets, musicians, inventors, peacemakers and thinkers, who ventured into the Dark and returned with offerings that ennobled humanity.
The title was inspired by the poet Mary Oliver, who portrays prayer as, a dipping of oneself toward the light.1 When we dip into Light, the act turns into a prayer—a moment infused with spirit that illuminates the unknown. The journey into the Dark is a journey of faith, faith in the belief that forgiveness and compassion are woven into the very fabric of the universe.
In sacred texts, the introduction of Light can be understood as a metaphor for the dawning of human consciousness. In essence, Light is what makes our species fully human; yet humanity holds dual citizenship—not only to Light’s transformative power, but also to its twin sister, the Dark—where embryos are nourished and dreams are formed. I do not view these dualities as good versus evil but as complementary yinyang domains—each offering unique gifts, and each cross-pollinating with the other for the well-being of a vibrant, tantalizing life overflowing with promise.
If light is a metaphor for the dawning of human consciousness, it is reasonable to ask what is this awakening pointing us to? The answer is the fundamental “amen” of the universe, Love. As author Henry Miller recounts it, If there is anything that deserves to be called miraculous, is it not love? What other power, what other mysterious force is there which can invest life with such undeniable splendor? The miracle which everyone is permitted to experience sometime in his life, the miracle, which demands no intervention, no intercession, no supreme exertion of will, the miracle which is open to the fool and the coward as well as the hero and saint, is love. Born of an instant, it lives eternally. Love is bound to Light and succinctly worded by the poet Dylan Thomas, Love is the last light spoken. And in the bible, (1 John 3:14), We know we have passed from death unto life because we love.
Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space. It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe. It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished. As experienced by the spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, The first light of dawn was filtering through the curtains. Without any thought, I felt, I knew, that there is infinitely more to light than we realize. That soft luminosity filtering through the curtains was love itself. Tears came into my eyes. I got up and walked around the room. I recognized the room, and yet I knew that I had never truly seen it before. Everything was fresh and pristine, as if it had just come into existence. I picked up things, a pencil, an empty bottle, marveling at the beauty and aliveness of it all.
More of my philosophy on Light is found in the introduction to my retrospective book, Dipping Into Light; A Lifetime of Photography.
New York City, January 1, 2014
1Mary Oliver, (Winter Hours, Houghton Mifflin, 1999) 108.