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A Nose for the Light

BY Winn Collier Journal
BY Alex Via

Burly iron radiators warm our 1937 Cape Cod. When we first moved in, I wondered if come December, icy drafts would chill us to our bones. However, this beefy boiler down in our basement churns the heat, and these radiators in every room purr like kittens. Still, cold’s cold, and no contraption can shut out all the nip once the air turns arctic.

On these cool mornings, our dog Daisy pads around the nooks and crannies of our old house, room to room, searching out those rays of sunshine falling across our chilled oak floor. Daisy has an instinct for knowing exactly where to go to find the next beam of warmth and light, that joyful ray piercing through the cold dark. Daisy lays down and sticks her snout right in that radiance. I swear I see a little grin, like somehow she's beat Old Man Winter at his own game. When she looks up at me, I think she's saying, "What are you doing over there, you dimwit? This here’s the spot."

Daisy knows something. We all need to find those places (and those people) where the sunshine breaks through. We cannot ignore the grey or cold, no we cannot - nor should we. But we do have to purposefully and defiantly search out things radiant and beautiful. Our humanity and our well-being and our ability to keep a clear eye of what is true (and what is a sham) depends on it.

This is why our world needs poets and craftsmen, people who can take a few words or a drafting pencil or a piece of steel or leather or clay and manifest the beauty. We need people who can work with land or lumber, with canvas or pipe fittings or a crazy bit of code, and show us the beauty. We need to encounter the kind of courage that refuses to surrender to cynicism, mockery or despair. Anybody can wallow in everything grim, but we need a handful of tenacious guides who will show us the sunshine. Show us the light.


©Winn Collier, 2017



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