Illuminations beyond me.

When I left home for the officehouse this afternoon, I looked around at our early wintery light, and at everything in it, and thought, I'm starting to run out of things to see along this half-mile walk.

When I sat in the officehouse well into the night, I thought, well, I guess I won't be lighting that second candle tonight.

When I checked the auroral activity page my poet friend put me onto yesterday (so that I too could keep track of whether or not the aurora would be visible here this weekend) and saw that the chances were nil for us, I thought, I guess that's another illumination not to be.

When I left the officehouse and decided to stop by the library to pick up a book, then emerged and realized I hadn't walked through our white-lit downtown trees anytime lately, I remembered: sometimes the lights come from unexpected quarters.

I'm still learning to use my new eyes, and the grading I'm doing these days hasn't allowed much time for exploration. But one of the things I learned tonight is how to determine proper exposure when I've eschewed all things automatic (which is the goal). Everything will be a little rocky at first, I fear: I'm not unlike a student who doesn't yet know how to write a sentence, much less compose a coherent paragraph or line of argumentation. It doesn't help that, like many beginning students, I'm setting myself impossible tasks: do something interesting with depth of field out on a Gambier street in the middle of the night! Now, do it while trying to hold other things, not just the camera!

But oh am I eager, and oh am I lit up. And oh may this be one way I am, as Paisley Rekdal writes, coming towards my greatness.

I came home and lit that second candle after all.