I. love. Tufts. Every year they have an illumination ceremony where all of the new students gather on the hill with a candle in hand. Then, one master candle, is used to light several and from there, the flame is spread to everyone.
“There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.” Bram Stoker
Tonight, I watched one light ignite thousands more. The ceremonial lighting of the first candle on the bottom of the hillside lead to the seamless passing of the torch from older generations and peers to new ones. I lay in wait as they spoke, prepared to be a witness to something that would be so profound. I thought about my friends at home, my family, and all of the opportunities that are still waiting to be uncovered. I thought about the true meaning of independence and interdependence. One light can create thousands more, but each light has to be lit, and each person has to pass that flame to someone else.
I looked around to see burgeoning friendships as the candle illuminated smile after smile on faces surrounding me. People that I will discover as the years move on, who will light up parts of my world were all there, spreading sunshine. The moment couldn’t be captured in a photograph but it didn’t stop us from trying. I took a lot of pictures for others, they were smiling and embracing each other longing for the perfect memory. It didn’t need to be preserved in a photo, it was engrained in everyone’s hearts.
Fire is destructive, beautiful, volatile, gentle, and delicate, like life. It was threatened by the wind and almost got extinguished, but with a hand shielding it from whatever elements came its way, it survived. It got stronger and blossomed, like a human does when treated with love and when protected. I had people take a few pictures of me, but the truth was that I didn’t feel like I needed someone else to be in them. I have wonderful friends here, that I already connect with and that have made me feel at home in the strangest of circumstances. But, the night was also about each and every single individual,
It was about the dreams that I will spark both within myself and others, the successes that are looming on the horizon, the inevitable sorrow that will pass like the gust of wind threatening the fire. It was about the tango that the shadow and the light were doing on my face, the intermingling of life and death, and the realities of the choices I make. It was about making Tufts mine. I didn’t feel the desperation to include someone else in my photo because I went on this journey alone, and my flame stays lit in all its glory whilst I propel myself forward.
I’m afraid of the dark. I always have been because you don’t know whats lurking in the shadows, what horrors might come out when the lights go down. But, I had the power to see. I had a candle that I knew would create enough light for me to make it somewhere light. I didn’t need it though, in that moment, the light was coming from the palpable warmth on that hill.
When I decided to blow out the light, it was not to mark the end of today. It was to preserve all of the possibilities of tomorrow. To leave time and space for the beauty that will unfold as time elapses. Slowly, lights were put out and the crowd began to dissipate. The sparks were still there but they had migrated from upon the candle into our souls. As the hill got darker and darker, somewhere the song firework played, a perfect finale to an awe-inspiring moment.
Wishing you the sweetest of dreams!