Moments of Incandescence

‘On the stiff twig up there

Hunches a wet black rook

Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain

I do not expect a miracle or an accident

To set the sight on fire

In my eye

[omitted material]

I only know that a rook

Ordering its black feathers can so shine

As to seize my senses, haul

My eyelids up, and grant a brief respite from fear of total neutrality

[omitted material]

(‘Black Rook in Rainy Weather’, Sylvia Plath 1956).

It is natural on such an anniversary as New Year, a sort of mini ‘fin de siecle’ (end of an era), to reflect on what has passed. Although one is aware of a general sense of a sweep of history in one’s life, the things that light us up and are truly memorable are usually points of experience as described above in Plath’s poem. Only rare beings would claim to be ecstatic all the time and most of us run on auto pilot with our daily routines. Life can be a blur and often seem routine and neutral. Although it often takes a special event to burn itself into lasting memory, it does not have to be so. The event in Plath’s poem is totally ordinary and simple .The important ingredient is the act of noticing the present moment.

Depression tends to be about a sense of PAST loss and anxiety tends to be about a sense of a FUTURE event occurring. Complete focus on the PRESENT moment from time to time can be astoundingly uplifting, relieving and memorable no matter how seemingly ordinary the event. It may be random or it may be planned such as listening to a favourite piece of music. ‘Radiance’ by Ken Davis usually does it for me. It may involve NOTICING the moment when engrossed in a favourite activity or enthusiasm. These are the things that are likely to populate your memory when reflecting on your life as well as being experienced joyfully at the time. BE HERE NOW is a teaching that has been handed down through the ages. Practising this intermittently can support all the other necessary activities of life.

If you require the services of a Psychologist Perth or Counsellor Perth, please contact me at