I have always loved the way that light and shade dance so beautifully together as a tree responds to the caresses of the wind. The earth is teased as the leaves let sunshine through first here then there, in fleeting freckles and persistent patches of light.
As I left breakfast this morning in York University where Synod had become a shared conversation, I was struck by the beautiful shadow cast on the paving by the tree outside the Vanbrugh building. The rest of the weekend had been overcast, I hadn’t seen the beautiful dance of the grey spectrum on the concrete until that moment. I felt honoured to be an audience to such unique choreography – only today will the leaves be their current size and shape, never again will the wind sweep and swirl in quite the same way.
I wanted to capture the moment, just one tap on my mobile and the image that fleetingly brought me wonder and joy could be recorded and shared. But there were a number of people inadvertently participating in the dance – those people were entitled to their privacy. And a single perspective, one view, would not capture anything like the fullness of the dance – there was no angle from which the simple camera on my phone could hold all that space, no position from which I could frame the tree, the sky, the sun, the shadow, the back drop of the lake – too rich, too wide, too expansive, too fluid, too dynamic beyond the scope of my photography.
Deep gratitude has stayed with me through today for that brief moment with God and a microcosm of His creation. The dancing dappled light was an astoundingly apposite image to take on the journey through our shared conversations. The sense of it being beyond the scope of one observer to frame, describe, record or capture a helpful reminder that my experience of the shared conversations will not offer an insight into the whole. The huge variance of shade and light, the nuanced shades of grey as the wind changed the pattern of the leaves helpfully reflecting the range of views expressed in our various groups, not simply black and white contesting the space but a seemingly infinite range of shades highlighting one another.
The tree, well established, deeply rooted and yet responsive and dancing in the wind; the newest growth the most agile performers delivering the most astounding choreography. The wind, unseen and yet guiding, energising, inspiring every movement. And the light, none of it possible without the light, too bright to look on directly at its source but beautifully accessible as it finds it’s way to dance on the receptive ground.
Rooted, inspired and reflecting God’s light. The shared conversations were full of hope for me. Moving, dynamic and accompanied by shadows. The shared conversations came at some cost and not without pain.
I feel greatly privileged to have been part of this process and pray the next steps in this dappled light will be beautifully choreographed too.