Tag Archives: I Can See Clearly Now

There and Back Again

It just caught my eye.  The way the sun touched on the upper branches of those distant trees, each branch covered in glittering snow, sparkling and shining in the early morning light.  The quiet of dawn.  The soft and gentle rising of the sun.  The island of light that formed, as if from nothing, the trees, oaks and maples, reaching to that light and carefully holding the beauty of the fresh snow.  My morning prayers offered from that high spot, gazing out towards the east.  A new day arriving in infinite increments of increasing light.

What is the great line from the end of Casablanca, that Rick says to Ilsa?  The problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this world?  In a strange way there is comfort in that thought.  The world does not revolve around us, around our concerns and cares.  We are part of a greater tale, playing a small part, but connected in with all that has gone before us and all that will come after.  Every once in a while we are granted a moment of insight into that simple fact.  And so it was for me that morning, with the early light, the white snow, the high branches, the rising sun.

There is a wonderful scene in The Hobbit, Tolkien’s great tale of adventure, subtitled ‘There and Back Again.’  Bilbo and the dwarves are lost in Mirkwood Forest, a dark and dangerous wood.  The dwarves urge Bilbo to climb to the top of a tall tree, thinking perhaps he might be able to see the edge of the forest to help them find a way out.  At the end of an arduous climb he suddenly emerges from the darkness as his head pokes through the forest’s canopy.  Here is Tolkien’s description of that moment:

“Bilbo’s eyes were nearly blinded by the light.  He could hear the dwarves shouting at him from far below, but he could not answer, only hold on and blink.  The sun was shining brilliantly, and it was a long while before he could bear it.  When he could, he saw all around him a sea of dark green, ruffled here and there by the breeze;  and there were everywhere hundreds of butterflies.  He looked at them for a long time, and enjoyed the feel of the wind in his hair and on his face;  but at length the cries of the dwarves, who were now simply stamping with impatience down below, reminded him of his real business.”

The momentary vision must always end, and we are inevitably called back to the real world.

You’ll remember the song “I Can See Clearly Now,” from the album of the same name recorded by Johnny Nash in 1971.  It was a huge hit, reaching #1 on the US Billboard charts in 1972.  Here is a part of the well known lyric:

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
I think I can make it now the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
Look all around, there’s nothing but blue skies
Look straight ahead, there’s nothing but blue skies
And here a link to the original recording:  Clearly Now

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