Tag Archives: niche

That which is no more

Like many houses in Albuquerque, our old house had a niche in the hallway intended for a phone, including a slot for a thin phonebook. Even when we had a landline, we never used the niche for that purpose. Instead, it held a kachina most of the time, as well as my keys and wallet.

Years ago, our friends Ann and John sent us a stained-glass piece which happened to be exactly the size of a small window in the front door of the house. It was a natural fit. Imagine our surprise the first time we saw the sun shine through that stained glass to illuminate the niche by chance, if you believe in serendipity. This didn’t happen every day. Indeed, most of the year the blue light shone elsewhere. However, every February and October the light appeared in the hallway and over a few weeks’ time it drifted toward the niche until it full illuminated the niche a morning or two.

Twice a year, we watched this progression. Now, it is no more. The niche, the door, and the sun are as they have been for decades. But we are gone and we took the blue light and kachina with us. Now, we watch for movements of light in our new house. This will take time.

This video is 10 minutes realtime but I have sped it up 16x.

alignment of the niche sped up

Fall Alignment – My Private Solstice

It happens every fall, this week, probably this day. I see it coming, even months ahead. As the day nears, I watch each morning – how soon? This morning, I first woke at 6am. I wanted to get up then. Lucky made me a morning person, against all odds, but cold, like the grave, is stronger than either of us. I looked at the clock again at 7:46am. When 7:47am clicked over, I got up and stepped out into the hall at the perfect moment, the moment of alignment.

How many times a day do we fail to see these moments when light strikes a mundane spot, turning it into an altar? I observe this special moment each fall, a week before Halloween, and again, each spring, about a week after Valentine’s Day.

Nature’s part in this display exceeds the other parts, but a sequence of steps brought this together. The house built with a door facing east, like half the houses on the block. The niche for a telephone and a laughably thin phone book. The door, added later, with a narrow window at just the right height, just the right shape. The glass pane with two blue spots, a gift from a bridesmaid, added years later to cover that narrow window. The katchina which largely replaced the chaotic clutter I contribute, the little treasures I handle daily and the older stuff I can’t let go of. All made sacred by 30 seconds of light twice a year. I’m grateful to bear witness.

For the first time (in 2009), the circle is notched in the upper-left by one of the bars on our new security door, the latest addition to the layers. The gap marks the inevitability of change and loss.

See the collection of photos grow twice a year: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjhinton/tags/niche/

Updated 10/29/09: See the change 4 days later: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjhinton/4055208123/

First published 10/25/09. Updated 10/26/10. On 10/26/10, I took the first photos at 7:47am — true story. Seems to be the magic moment.