Shadow and Light

A close-up of small white daisies with yellow centers in a lush green field, slightly blurred background, with a 25th-anniversary logo in the corner.

Dear Friends,

My husband, youngest daughter and I will be racing to upstate New York this Monday, chasing the solar eclipse. In the Path of Totality, we hope to stand in the moon’s shadow, marvel at the stars revealed in the daytime sky, stand breathless in the darkness and watch in wonder at the radiant halo of the sun’s corona. We have our glasses at the ready.

Last week, Cranaleith hosted author Ani Tuzman for a reading from her recently published book, Angels on the Clothesline: A Memoir. In front of a packed room, Ani read selected vignettes depicting her childhood experiences growing up as the daughter of Holocaust survivors and recent immigrants. Listening to her words curling through the air, all of us in attendance fell silent. We leaned forward in our chairs, listening intently as Ani described the first-person confusion of a child seeking friendship and belonging, but encountering hate and indifference. In the midst of stories about Terry, the bully taunting her for being a Jew, and hearing her mother’s stories about “being hidden under the floorboards of a barn”, where “she was sure she would be the only Jew left,” comes a most unbearably beautiful light, flickering its trails in a radiant corona. All of us in the room, we see it, we feel it, we marvel at the experience. We are here, sharing these stories, together. Stories told by a woman who was once that child. Stories that we feel echoing in our own lives. All of it comes together, somehow, here in this room, in this moment, with these people, during a beautiful, soft, early spring evening at Cranaleith. We can feel and see the resilience and hope. “Ahni in Hebrew,” Ani writes, “means I Am” (p. 81).

The alignment of the sun, moon and earth during an eclipse disrupts the ordinary flow of time. It invites us to pause, reflect, reset. Ani’s reading? It does the same… Light and dark. They are two and one at the same time. You and me. Then and now. Sorrow and joy. Clarity and confusion.

It will be twenty years before there is a chance to witness a total solar eclipse in the United States, again. But at Cranaleith, the moments where shadows and light align happen every day. Please come and experience your own sun’s corona in the quiet of Cranaleith’s contemplative space.

In Mercy,

Dawn Hayward

Executive Director

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