2158849-1aa-1.jpgWe’re two weeks past winter solstice now. At 4:00 am, I’m awake, though dawn won’t bloom for hours.

I climb out of bed and switch on the lamp beside the couch, then kindle the flames in the fireplace. Bulb and fire will be my “filler lights” until sunrise.

I think about how much of my life I’ve spent hunting, chasing, longing for light. How I’ve held my face up to sunlight’s salve. Lain prone in its warmth. How I’ve raced outside with my camera when light shifted. How I’ve danced and sung at light’s advance, and how I’ve cried when it dwindled on the landscape.

Or in lives.

Right now, I’m waiting for it. Here, beside an east window where—barring the season’s heavy cloud mop—I’ll lean into the sun’s first rays as they pour over the mountains. I’ll fling open the door and soak up the light, until winter’s cold drives me back inside.


While I wait, I open my laptop to an email from another light-hunter, cousin and photographer Keith Skelton. He has enclosed Grandpa Blake’s 1939 patent for a new kind of light bulb. Harold Blake—inventor, photographer, engineer (and grandfather to Keith and my husband)—studied light and deciphered its transmission with meticulous detail.


As I read, I remember that Keith once told me that Light is life.

I’ve heard that often, and it makes sense. We are made for light. Literally. From skin to brains, guts to souls, receptors capture light and use it to propel everything from our metabolic processes to our mental and spiritual health. Without light from outside of ourselves, we die. Consequently, Light-hunger seems to show up in pretty much everyone, physically and spiritually.

Zechariah knew about spiritual Light-hunger. And when he looked at his newborn son, he realized that his boy would spread the word about the Light that all those “filler lights” we chase can only point to. He told his baby John this:

“And you, my child, will be called a

prophet of the Most High;

for you will go on before the Lord to prepare

the way for him,

to give his people the knowledge of salvation

through the forgiveness of their sins,

because of the tender mercy of our God,

by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven,

to shine on those living in darkness

and in the shadow of death,

to guide our feet into the path of peace.

(Luke 1: 76-79 NIV)

He meant Jesus. Light of the World. Sunlight inside of us, if we open the door.


What are your “filler lights”? How are they working for you?



#Light bulb inventors #Godinnature #Godsubstitutes #Lighthunters

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Love the outdoors? I can take you there. Rural & wild PNW posts and photos from a naturalist, faith writer, and author of three books, including the award-winning novel Sugar Birds. Member of Redbud Writers Guild.

18 thoughts on “Light-hunger

  1. Quite nice Cheryl, we all need the “Light” that is not only within us all, but the light that nurture’s us everyday. Maui anyone?


  2. Cheryl I love your blog and understand the hunger for light. I feel fortunate to be in west central Idaho where the days have about 1 hr more light then western Wash. I receive spiritual fulfillment when I go out on a cold winter morning to feed my cows. The sun is coming up shining on their winter coats warming them from the cold of night. Their body language changes from hunched cold to relaxation from warmth. I am happy!


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