anghara (anghara) wrote,

January word: Light

I've been talking elsewhere about "evocative words" - and there is a list, I know there is but I'm damned if I can find it, of the ten most evocative words in the English language (of course, in the eye of the writer of that list; evocative is as evocative does, and one of the things that DID come out of the more recent discussions, and an obvious point it is too, is that evocativity (yeah it's a neologism, so shoot me) very much depends on what is being evoked for whom.)

So, I've decided to do a monthly Word Entry, picking words that *I* find evocative, for whatever reason. Feel free to skip the word-tagged entries if all you're interested in is the daily nitty-gritty or the writing reports or anything PRACTICAL like that. These will be pretty much out of left field, lyrical, poetic, highly out there and I am afraid probably wholly useless unless you are a word nerd just like me.

Anyway, that by way of introduction. This month's word, class, is "light".

Perhaps it's inevitable that this one should occur to me at this time of year, in the Northern Winter, when light is precious and in short supply - but then again, the days ARE getting longer again, a few seconds at a time, and frankly I was never a light-deprived kind of personality anyway - I like it that it's dark early in wintertime. But light - light is such a word. It gleams. It glows. It glitters. It is the first shy promise of dawn of the horizon, it's the play of sunlight on water, it's a candle flame, it's Christmas light on houses in the dark of December,it's the Aurora Borealis. It's joy and hope and life. Sunlight - the full liquid richness of summer sunlight and the sharp fractured light of winter (I wrote about that somewhere in here before, in this journal, last year, I think the post was called "Winter light", you can look it up if you choose). It's a fire in the hearth. It's a campfire in the wilderness.

It isn't JUST light. It's safety, and comfort, and pleasure, and awe. There are so many things that connect to it. It's also goodness - think of every fantasy you've ever read with Light Elves and Dark Elves in it, with armies of the light. It is no coincidence that in something like Babylon 5 the Vorlons are beings of light and their opponents, the Bad Guys, are known simply as the Shadows - an absence of light. That the Devil, in fact, is known as the Prince of Darkness. All badness flows from the dark, and all goodness flows from light - light is the cloak that falls around you when you are righteous, and light is your armour against fate. Live in the light. It's a blessing, it's a calling, it's a vocation - we belong to the light. It's damnably dangerous when the definition of what constitutes such "light" is left to people with influence but without scruples or wisdom, people with the gift of persuasion, people who are able to convince the gullible and the desperate that the "light" is a mothership about to land and that the only way to leave this vale of tears behind is to hand over their life savings and then drink poison so that their spirits can rise to the ship and be taken away from here. False light is garish and grim, but when you're seeing it from only one angle it can sure seem like the real thing, and in the name of light people will do anything, anything at all.

And then there's the other "light" - as opposed to "heavy", not to "dark" - and there's a whole new set of associations with that. Light of spirit, unopressed by guilt or obsessions. Light of body, so that you can dance on flowers and not crush them. Light, light, light like a feather, able to fly, free, untramelled by anything. Lightweight.

No, but wait, that last is not so nice.

Light is a word full of shadows - because without shadows we would not be able to comprehend light at all. We keep raising our faces to the sun, like sunflowers, and we keep on yearning to fly. Light is the thing that leads us, that fools us, that makes us better and makes us deluded, light is a sparkling drink that goes to our heads and makes us dizzy with delight and fills us with happiness and gives us strength and joy. Light comes every morning, and gives us the power to get over the worst of times by saying "Tomorrow is another day", because it will be, because after the darkest night light will come again. That is in the nature of things. That is the way it is.

Living... is waiting for the light.

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