I hold a blue candle in my left hand and make shadow animals on the wall with my right hand. It is Earth Hour, a time of global solidarity as people all over the world turn off their lights for one hour. As the hour ends in one time zone, it begins in the next. Usually, I spend Earth Hour in silent contemplation but tonight I’m playing with hand shadows like Cro Magnon children might have done in fire-lit caves thirty thousand years ago. I do it until hot candle wax drips on my hand and makes me stop.
Japan is hours ahead of the Pacific Northwest, and hundreds of us sent messages of support to the Japanese people during Earth Hour in Japan.
I play simple melodies on a camellia branch flute from Jon Sherman, letting the notes come as they will without thinking about it. I’m a beginner and my tunes lack skill but are heartfelt. When I was two or three years old, I carried a stick with me everywhere and called it “my little wood.” Now I feel I’ve got my Little Wood back!
I finish the hour reciting the Heart Sutra Mantra for the people of Japan and for a friend and her family who are going through a difficult time. Gate gate paragate parasamgate bhodi svaha.
Earth Hour 2011 is this blog’s two-year anniversary!
Earth Hour posted this link to the Boston Globe on Facebook. Incredible photos from all over the world.
It was the end of the pay period and when I got off work last night, there was barely enough time before Earth Hour to eat a quick supper and round up some candles and get them lit. Then it was time, and I turned off all the lights. I planned to spend the hour in sitting meditation for the well-being of the planet, but I wandered around in the dim candlelight, peering out my windows to see whether any other people on my street had turned off their lights. Two other houses had; everywhere else, porch lights were on and windows were lit up. But I knew the lights in downtown Portland were off and that the state capitol would be dark as well.
I sat down to meditate. The candles I’d lit were beautiful, and I got up again to light some incense. I was having trouble settling down–maybe a little chant would help me get focused. “Sachara Chara Para Purna, Shivoham, Shivoham…” and I got quiet at last.
It was my third Earth Hour. Every year, around the globe, more and more cities and countries join to put aside their conflicts and come together for that one hour in an alchemy of hope and unity. At the end of the hour, I didn’t turn the lights on right away. The candlelight was lovely and bathed my tiny house in a warm, cozy glow. Maybe I’ll light them again tonight and have another earth hour all by myself.
Prompted by Sunday Scribblings: Alchemy