In praise of... shivelight

The other day I discovered a rather lovely new word. Shivelight was, it seems, created in 1888 by Gerard Manley Hopkins to describe a clear shaft of sunlight piercing or filtering through foliage and the canopy of a wood. A likely derivation is that 'shive' is an Old English word meaning 'slice'; and indeed, shivelight so often appears as slender, translucent slices, illuminating and turning to pale gold whichever leaves or grasses they fall upon.

From shive to shiver is but a tiny step; and shivelight could so very easily be shiver-light too. There is something so magical and mystical in those pale lances of light, as to cause a shiver of awe and wonder within us.

During the summer especially, a woodland canopy can be so dense as to easily block out sunlight - and yet, shivelight somehow finds its way through; somehow, it finds and slices through even the slimmest of gaps. And there's something rather lovely and hope-filled about that. Our world currently feels very, densely dark, and our country's future dismal and despairing... and yet, as Leonard Cohen reminded us: There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets through... And get through it does.

In today's gloom and darkness, where can we find and create the cracks which permit shivelight to get through, and cast its hope-bearing radiance?