Travel theme: pathways of light

Pathways is Ailsa’s theme this week at Where’s my Backpack.

Lighting the way; an installation at the New Plymouth Festival of Lights

I’m one of those people who focuses on the destination, not the journey; the goal rather than the process. I understand this about myself and accept it. I know it means I miss stuff but I’m ok with that. I figure I’m happy enough with who I am not to feel the need to change that particular part of my psyche.

So focusing on pathways is an interesting concept for me. Afterall, pathways exist to go somewhere and I have probably always been too busy thinking about that somewhere to capture the road I’m on. Then I found the photo above of an installation at the New Plymouth Festival of Lights. You could say that it’s connection with pathways is a bit tangential, and maybe that’s true, but it got me thinking about how light itself is a kind of pathway.By illuminating some things and leaving others in darkness, light creates a way forward – a direction.

“There are apparently few limitations either of time or space on where the psyche might journey and only the customs inspector employed by our own inhibitions restricts what it might bring back when it reenters the home country of everyday consciousness.” ― Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

The photo above was taken in Federation Square, Melbourne, in June 2009 during the annual Light in Winter Festival. The sculpture consisted of this series of columns each of which lit up at different times, in different colours. Arranged in a grid, the columns formed multiple, transient pathways, based on the timing or the colour of the lights. In this photo, the pathway could be seen to lead to St Pauls Cathedral opposite Federation Square on Flinders Street.

Churches have traditionally been a source of light – both actual and spiritual. Many different pathways can take one to church. I don’t really believe in God, but within the large, elegant churches of the more established forms of Christianity, I find peace and beauty and joy. I experience these things not because of any belief in a supernatural being, but because they represent some of the highest forms of human creativity; in architecture, design, painting, sculpture and music.

pathways of light church

On a wet and bitingly cold winter’s night, St Patrick’s Cathedral in Auckland is a place of sanctuary. A path of gleaming white leading to the sacred space within which music, ritual, tradition and visual harmony embrace believers and those of us who are content to celebrate the genius of humanity.

The religious music of John Rutter embodies for me much that is truly good in humanity; a pathway to joy.

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