Skyscraper Light

We live next to downtown Seattle. There’s no sparkling view of Puget Sound, but a fine landscape of skyscrapers. An urban naturalist can observe the elements playing with these buildings as much as any mountain or prairie vista. At times the WA MU Tower’s penthouse summit is hidden in fog while its midriff can clearly be seen. (Despite the company’s horrific self-destruction, they built a damn fine building.)

And then there’s skyscraper light, the sun rays that reflect off mirrored/glass surfaces and dart across the city. This morning the curved 76-story Columbia Tower, with its hundreds of facets, sparkles into our living room, giving us morning light from a westward window. Some times other buildings do the honors. There’s something about this reflected light that makes every detail of a shadow laser crisp. Once we put a pineapple in the window to ripen. Its magnified shadow showed every curve, every button, every leaf in aching detail, the clarity that you long to possess in a landmark moment: God, please let me remember it all — the smell-sight-color-temperature-feeling-hope-beauty-warmth-fragility. Oh let me at least capture its reflection with the perfection of pineapple-skyscraper light. Reflected glory.

Always, the brightness moves on. With the sun’s changing position through the seasons, the angle and arrival of skyscraper light changes daily, hourly. Light moves, bounces, and lands again.

This week I’m leaving a position I’ve held for three years, doing development work for a Shakespeare company and moving to an ecumenical group that brings churches together for social justice and service. The light moves from the prism of Shakespeare’s stories illuminating the human soul to the solar panels of programs that house the homeless and intensify the warmth of compassion into practical heat. I long to capture the time with my Shakespearean compadres in the amber clarity of skyscraper light. I await the next burst, God’s gift arriving from an unknown direction.



  1. Dearest Beth, how beautiful it was this morning to lie awake since 4:30 ’til morning’s first light (I’m still jetlagged), meditating myself on beauty and kindess, and then get up to start working, checking emails, and find your most excellent post. great way to start the day! I love seeing the world through your eyes. I agree, by the way, the Wamu tower (what to call it?) has many fine features, among which are the faces on the north wall. Yes, we do have a lot to be grateful for!

    1. Karin, your ability to find quality of life all around you is an inspiration. Let’s keep the gratitude growing!

  2. Hello Beth!
    What a lovely meditation on pineapple-skyscraper light — love that you worked a little tropical/Polynesian reference in there. (Or is that just me, coming up from a quick dip in a friend’s just-posted Molokai pix?) Congratulations on starting the new position — may it feed your spirit and help you spread your light.

    1. The pineapple story is a simple example of the universe providing linkages. It took place 5 years (or so) ago, apparently before we began principally buying local fruit….yup, the new job is indeed a chance to be fed in new ways. Here’ s to the many ways we can contribute to the world…

  3. like Kelly said… what a lovely meditation. i’ve been focusing these days on light filtering through leaves waving in the breeze, and light bouncing off water — thanks for finding words to describe the inspiring variations found there.
    love you,

  4. You have the eyes to see the light. What a blessing, my friend.

  5. Good morning Beth! I went seeking you this morning online after spending a few hours with Thea, Jeff, Jeannie and John. Oh how I longed for your sweet gaze, your thoughtful words. We spoke of you – each of us – and oh my, the love that poured out of us!

    I am thinking of you my friend; remembering lovely afternoons spent sipping tea and sharing truth, laughing at our silly party-group antics, or taking time to know the gifts of our shared experience, strength and hope.

    May the light of love continue to shine for you, through you and within you.


    1. Hello Bert! I just tried sending a message to your hotmail address and it bounced. When you get a chance, send me your current address. We have tea & cemetery visits to arrange!

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