The light coming in through the trees over the pony by my pottery studio is an image which seems to resonate with my inner landscape. We each have an inner landscape, a pastoral scene or even, for some, perhaps an urban scene, which seems to be an icon (representation) of the state of our inner life. This idea of an inner human landscape is ancient and has been written about by meditators and mystics for thousands of years. The reason it so seems to resonate with people is that so many people have come across a scene in nature which somehow seems highlighted. It seems to ring bells inside one such that the scene seems to be iconographic to how they see all of life. This is one such scene for me. It is the scene from my pottery wheel.
What we know about the human mind is that we humans very much like large, open spaces. We are biologically programmed this way because to be able to see a massive view spread out before us is a valuable survival issue. To be able to see a massive view from a hight is a matter of simply being able to see a predator coming or food availability. So when we see a massive view and sigh with contentment, we are actually giving in to a biological programming of human life – a genetic mutation of survival.
This is no such massive view. It is tight and close but light-infused and lovely in a mystical way. It is, I think, an image I recognize from my inner landscape because I know God exists and yet I know God exists in the midst of what, at times, feels like a swamp, or a pond, or a forest of trees obscuring the view. It is close. It is light-infused. It is intimate and quiet.
The Epiphany is a season in which we must all find the Light of Jesus streaming into our lives- recognize the scenes to which we may return for encouragement. For some of us, hard things are being managed which sometimes obscure the light. When hard things happen or pain or grief cloud our sunlight, we still know that beyond those clouds the sun is shining.
We know this from the flights we take in airplanes which reach their flying altitude above the cloud cover. We see the sun, bright and warm. We see the cloud-carpet beneath the flying plane in which we sit, and we know that the land beneath that cloud cover is enduring a storm. And it reminds us that when we are in a storm, the sun is still beaming and will beam on us again in time, even if it must make its way between the trees in our lives – the business, the exhaustion, the grief, the regrets, the disappointments.