Today the light between the bare branches at sunset on my road walk, 4:03 PM here in Maine, was breathtaking. It was the color of my friend's dahlias, all fiery red and peachy soft with hints of saffron and an amber glow. And then came the early darkness. The woods were quiet and I felt the turn towards something out there becoming still, and something inside me, too. As I turned up the drive towards the house, ten brave stalks of kale were silhouetted by the western cast on the garden. I sat on the porch, lingering, imagining that the damp dark descending was wrapping me, not in a chill, but in comfort. I think I might be odd in how much I love November and this sunset time of day. I like the profound resting place of it. I'm so in need of rest this winter. So many of us are.
I'm reminded of this favored poem, a love letter to the darkness by Rilke, which I've posted about here before.
You darkness from which I come,
I love you more than all the fires
that fence out the world,
for the fire makes a circle
so that no one sees you anymore.
But darkness holds it all:
the shape and the flame,
the animal and myself,
how it holds them,
all powers, all sight —
and it is possible: its great strength
is breaking into my body.
I have faith in the night.
(Original poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated here by David Whyte)
Later, up came the Beaver Moon and lit up the pink and purple night clouds. I wanted to write a love letter to the light of the moon and profess my faith in it. But this November moon has big energy and my passion instead is for an early pillow.
We live in a spectacular world, a spectrum of light and dark, both in actuality and deep within our hearts. More than ever we are called to practice how to comfortably (or not so comfortably) sit with both. In the coming weeks, we will combat the woe of lengthening nights with our celebrations of light in their many forms. But Jeannette Witherspoon writes, "I think we should stop being night-resisters, and learn to celebrate the changes of the seasons and realign ourselves to autumn and winter, not just turn up the heat, leave the lights on, and moan a lot. Night and dark are good for us. As teh nights lengthen, it's time to reopen the dreaming space."
Which do you prefer? To drive the dark away, or lean into it with abandon. Perhaps you like a little balance.
~ Write a love letter to darkness.
~ Write an ode to the moon.
~ Challenge! Write a short story in dialogue only, a conversation between Light and Dark.
~ Make a batch of black and white cookies to symbolize the balance of light and dark.
A Maid Asleep by Johannes Vermeer Dutch ca. 1656-57