advent journal: the dark

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I am affected by a lack of light.

Our electric bill goes up in the winter, I’m sure, because I keep the lights on all the time. I am also sure a big part of it is related to my depression. I walk around feeling like I have a visor on and the light can’t get to my eyes sometimes. I have learned to be outside as sundown approaches, especially if I am home by myself. If I am in the house when the sun goes down, I go down with it. These short days take their toll. I am grateful the Solstice is here and tomorrow will have just a little more daylight and I love the dark.

The dark is a place of rest and comfort, a place of unknowing and surprise, a place where romance unfolds, a place of solitude, a place of quiet. Whatever metaphors we have inherited that equate darkness with evil and harm, I am ready to set aside. I know there is evil in the world, I just want to find a different metaphor because the dark has too much to offer.

Read (and listen) to Guy Clark tell you about “The Dark.”

in the dark you can sometimes
hear your own heart beat
or the heart of the one next to you
the house settles down
after holding itself up all day
shoulder slumps, gives a big sigh
you hear no one’s foot fall in the hall
that drip in the kitchen sink marking time
june bug on the window screen
can’t get in but he keeps on trying
one way or another we’re all in the dark

fireflies, sparks, lightning, stars
camp fires, the moon, headlights on cars
the Northern Lights and The Milky Way
you can’t see that stuff in the day
when the earth turns its back on the sun
the stars come out and the planets
start to run around
now they call that day is done
but really it’s just getting started
Some folks take comfort in that

and how dark is it
it’s too dark for goblins
and how dark is it
it’s so dark you can smell the moon
how dark is it
it’s so dark the wind gets lost
how dark is it
it’s so dark the sky’s on fire
iow dark is it
it’s so dark you can see Fort Worth from here

Light and dark are not opposites as much as a continuum. Dawn and sundown hold their own beauty as we slide from one into the other. Yes, tonight is the longest night and tomorrow we will begin moving back towards the longest day, only to come back here again. We walk in and out of shadows all day and are touched by light of all kind in the dark. As Annie Dillard says, if we want to see stars, we have to go out in the dark.

How dark is it? So dark that I want to sleep.
How dark is it? So dark I can feel the weight.
How dark is it? So dark that I look for you.
How dark is it? So dark that I start to listen.
How dark is it? You tell me . . .

Peace,
Milton

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