Locomotive tender, part of the Gwalia Museum, makes a classic silhouette against the light. We could talk about the merits of silhouettes, or the creativity of black and white photographs. But I’m drawn to the grey.
There’s talk everywhere about colouring within lines, following numbers, obeying laws, sticking to the unwritten rules we all “know”, doing it right, being a “good” citizen. Rules and laws are black and white, literally – print on paper or, as folk lore, mores, they are etched in the community psyche, but one needs discernment to navigate life, one needs to appreciate and savour, even learn to trust the grey. The movie Inception illustrates this perfectly as it has no heroes or villains, each character has to deal with their own subconscious, and their own shaddow. Inception is an abstraction of what real life is actually like, but we all take moral positions and justify them, black and white, but the reality is life is beyond our controls and manys the time our rules don’t fit, don’t work, and we have to find another way through.
Life is a series of relational encounters where we flex and compromise and move, sometimes in a direction we’d never thought we would or could go. A bit like dancing. In this dance of life I live by two main principles, loving my neighbour as myself, and doing no harm, I’m not perfect, but these two principles even roughly applied help me navigate the stultifying black and white and live into the grey of reality. Grey is relational, affective, heart over mind. Black and white are sharp polarities, divided, forceful, demanding. Grey is softer, warmer, blended, forgiving, neutral, open.
I like my silhouette, but it is softened by the grey. Live into and appreciate the grey.