Thanks, Jim

Thanks, Jim

This is by way of being a thank-you note to Jim Bundy, whose excellent blog of April 28, this year, so well demonstrated

An Early Streetlight
An Early Streetlight
what it is to think metaphorically on the subject of street light. The “blurring of streetlights and angels” indeed. That challenge to “transcend the separateness” seems to me to be a very appropriate gauntlet for Jim to throw down not only before himself, but before the editors and potential contributors to this magazine. And certainly, its readers.

Streetlamp under snow
Streetlamp under snow
The unromantic fact, of course, is that the present editors of Streetlight Magazine inherited the name. The magazine was a print phenomenon many years before our turn happened along and it seemed only fitting to carry the title into its online manifestation. No one has ever divulged to me how the name originally came into being, but, with my own urban associations to streetlight, I have always half-imagined some somewhat gritty reference to things that happen in the street. But here we are in Charlottesville, not the grittiest of locales and it seemed to me that some additional metaphoring work could very usefully be done. Well, additional metaphoring work is maybe always useful. And it’s not to say we can’t be also be gritty if we want to. Or need to. Sometime we do need to.

This got me to thinking about streetlights again – in another way: their history. Streetlights begin as an elemental Street_light-hrad_bratislavanecessity. Where it’s dark, it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous because you bump into things and it’s dangerous because of things that bump into you, many of them not friendly. Wikipedia has a splendid discourse on the development of streetlights and I recommend it. Just Google “streetlights.”

Street light, Ashgabat
Street light, Ashgabat
Then think of that history, beginning with flames on a stick, proceeding through various intricacies of gas lighting, advancing to the wonders of electric light –and then notice what the future holds: new, economical, ecological, astounding. And still dedicated to clarity and safety. So there’s another way of extending our metaphor-working, even – with a tip of the hat to friend, Jim – to the blurring of safety and clarity, to the many, many ways we can cast light, muddle it, wave it about, and still, simply bask in it. I’d love to hear from others on this topic.

Susan Shafarzek

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