"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being." - Carl Jung
"To love beauty is to see light." - Victor Hugo
"There's more light out there, go find it!" - Kendall Toole
William and I watched the first part of My Octopus Teacher last night. The beautiful documentary about a filmmaker, producer Craig Foster, and an octopus that he befriends in the frigid Atlantic waters off the coast of South Africa brought me to near-tears with its beauty. The bright colors of the corals became the bright colors of the octopus, and the sunlight shone through translucent jelly fish and other creatures in the kelp forest. Just watching the first half-hour reminded me of all the beauty, all the light that exists in the world, and how much I want to go find it after this terrible year.
The whole country staggers to its feet now that the vaccine has arrived and COVID infections are mostly down, but headlines from India and Brazil continue to buffet our awareness and mass shootings have once again surfaced as daily occurrences. Most of us have learned to ration our news intake, to distance ourselves from tragedy just to preserve our sanity, but I forgot to seek out sources of beauty and light.
Withdrawing into my hole of unconsciousness, like the octopus hiding in its rocky den, doesn't spark my joy. The Oscar-winning documentary about an unlikely friendship between a man and animal reminded me of the mystery, the miracle-filled nature of our world. William and I spoke at the same time last night as we watched Craig Foster free dive in the kelp: "I really want to do that!" There's nothing stopping us from planning that trip. We'll soon be able to explore again, to recognize how much light is out there and how much we need to find it.