These are the days of lamps and light. Small flickering, twinkling and flashing pinpoints cut through the darkness; a concerted effort from every theological tradition to counter the thick black shroud of December. We commute to work before the British sun can turn the sky the colour of overly-milked tea. By mid afternoon the light’s feint heartbeat slows, fades and then succumbs to the darkness. The electric candles are lit in windows, mimicking the sweeping headlights of cars as we make our way home. It is the light of heaven; manufactured and uniform. It is Rama and Sita’s triumphant journey home. It is oil sucked from the streets to keep the menorah burning.
Londoners, perpetually dressed in black, shuffle across those oily roads. They are barely glimpsed in the car head lamps. Shadows compete in the glare turning the pedestrians into ghostly shadows roaming purgatory and searching for some homely peace.
We are moths. Fluttering and darting through the inky city streets we seek out the pinpoints of light. It is safety and comfort. It is responsibilities put down for a collective breath.
In the school’s Year 3 classroom, today, the lights came crashing down. This was no symbolic act, dear readers; no. This was literal and real. The long fluorescent strips which turn the whole building the same uniform colour were somehow faulty. Some might call them jealous that their constant, unwavering, industrial and institutional light was over-looked for Christmas’ gaudy sparkle.
But the lengthy tubes of white chose today to make their presence felt. How long one dangled over the head of 8 year olds in a geography lesson will remain unknown. Perhaps it had hung like the Sword of Damocles yearning to be stared at by some young eye bored with making paper-mache maps of the River Ganges. And when no glance was forthcoming, it carried out its unknown threat: crashing down on the head of two young pupils.
Luckily no one was hurt. Not badly. A small cut on the hand for one, an even slighter bump on the head for the other. We were lucky. The local government inspectors will be on site in the morning, well before the British sky accepts its first steep from a tea-bag sun. They will carry clip boards and look up at the ceiling. The other long fluorescent strips will hum to each other, smug in the martyrdom of their fallen comrade and now with the full attention of a holiday-dazzled populate.
Keep the Faith,