As the earth tilts away from the sun here in the northern hemisphere, darkness harkens. Shorter months, and a clock which is more and more likely to contain fewer hours of daylight are becoming the norm and though there are still brilliant moments of autumnal light around midday, the evenings are now cool and dim. I’ve already written about fall and how I’m learning to love it, and I’ve also already written about how I adore the sun, but lately I’ve also been considering more and more what exactly the coming darkness might offer.
I suppose it’s only natural that humans are uncomfortable with the darkness. It must have been quite harrowing having to survive nights as primal humans against the natural world. Our eyes, while able to adjust, are better suited to the daylight, yet I am sure there is much to discover in the folds of the night as the seasons change. The nightlife references parties, fun, drinking, and that special blend of glamour and hedonism that humans are able to assume in the kindness of the night. Away from the light, there is also a kind of freedom which allows us to embrace our complex selves, our private fantasies, our irresponsible and reckless selves. That’s not quite what I’ve been touching base with as of late however.
There is also the long dark night of the soul – whereby, I am told, one endures great spiritual tribulation and is born again with a kind of renewed faith at the break of day. Perhaps my more cerebral tendencies have prevented me having to experience this thus far, but if such a spiritual trial should come my way, I hope that it will be quite literally at night, when time stands still and there is only my own self and the darkness to contend with as I wrestle the metaphysical. And, if at the first sliver of tomorrow I am renewed, then let it be with a fully embodied memory of the previous hours, let me not forget the darkness.
Looking out my window in broad daylight, there is a enough to remind me of this place that we have made for ourselves, yet that same window only some hours later faces me blankly with a colorless void and I am comforted in knowing that at the end of the day, there is still only me and my mind to contend with — and that is certainly enough! Sometimes the dark is equated with danger, evil, ignorance, uncertainty, fear, dread, angst, hopelessness, etc., but in my case, there is only a sense of calm. A sense that it may soon be time to rest, to slip into the canopy-covered jungle of the unconscious — subconscious — dreamland.
I’m pretty sure that I’ll always have a strong preference for the long days of summer, but slowly, like the creeping evening here in mid-September, I am learning to lean into the night, to be calmed by its silence, and relieved by its inability to reflect light and therefore to expose. Hidden things are still things of worth. Secrets are not as bad as we’ve all been led to believe. They are held in the vast unknown of the night and have their time to dance. But, come morning, they recede again into the spectrum of our public selves. Their time is held safe and, in these early autumn days, it grows and expands so that we might as well.
Turn off the lights.