One of the most maligned aspects of winter, besides cold, is the amount of darkness. I enjoy both the cold and the dark of winter. Winter is a profound time of year.
No, I’m not into occult beliefs nor any darkness of the spirit. I simply find the dark to be fascinating and fortifying. Dark times enhance curiosity and wonder while the brilliance of light can dazzle and wash out subtlety.
If I had the means, Antarctica in the depths of winter is where I’d like to visit sometime. I think the South Pole in its winter must be the closest I will ever get to experiencing the arcane wonders of Outer Space. Such a journey would probably push me to the limits of my physical tolerances. However, the profundities I might learn about the Earth and also about myself make the risks worthwhile.
When thinking objectively about the dark, we know that there is much more darkness than light in the Universe. Although bright, shining stars and galaxies are countless in number, they are only bright spots in the overall vastness of dark Space. The mystery of the darkness has motivated astronomers and other scientists to develop technologies to investigate what might be hidden away from the brilliance of the stars.
To allow oneself to investigate the darkness as well as the light is, in my opinion, a positively constructive way to think. It is helpful in many ways to leave the socially dominant dichotomous manner of thinking and judging far behind us.
The representations of light equals good and darkness equals bad is obsolete and harmful. This type of belief is a trap that limits us and divides us. The dominance of black and white thinking influences how we get along with one another. Black and white or positive versus negative obscures ambiguity and nuance. Ambiguity is exceptionally interesting.
There are more than two sides to controversial issues. The Universe is not restricted to the narrowness of light and dark. Dichotomy is a human invention. Darkness and lightness combine in infinite ways. In all fairness to darkness, we must admit that dark and light are equally important to life. The ambiguous borders between day and night are when the sky is most beautiful. Dawn and dusk have been favorite subjects of painters and photographers for ages.
Our species evolved to be awake in the daytime and to sleep at night. In the day, things are more obvious. In the night, things are more mysterious. Our behavior is more bold with light and more fearful with darkness. There are other species that evolved to be bold in the darkness and timid in the light. Just because a creature thrives in the dark does not make that creature evil. The creature simply exists with different points of reference.
I’ve written many times about my love of the darkness between midnight and dawn. Each day, I awaken very early in order to take in the wonder of the darkness. The very early morning is a time of sublime grandeur. Because I evolved to take light more or less for granted, the darkness stimulates my awareness and mindfulness. The most calm, peaceful darkness brings joy to my heart. The stormy darkness triggers heart-pounding excitement and pushes me to be more courageous. The mysterious darkness enables my inquisitiveness.
It is the combination of light and dark that makes us strong. This is true in the metaphorical sense that poets and prophets have explored throughout the ages. It’s easier to work and play in the light of day. We tend to suppress and deny the value of exploring ourselves we tuck away into the darkness within. We often forget that our enlightening dreams are nurtured in the darkness of sleep. Indeed, daylight brings us useful activity and nighttime brings us comforting rest. The ambiguous mental state between not fully light nor fully dark, can provide us with an in-between, often soothing state of mind.
The greatest literature is rooted in dark human nature. This is one way we rediscover the full spectrum of our lives. Being honest and curious about the darkness opens the door to freedom and discovery. Embracing the light, the dark and the shades in-between is the way out of the box of limited living.
I love the beauty of the dark, but when venturing very far into it, I carry a good, fully-charged flashlight.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes astronaut Buzz Aldrin. “Whenever I gaze up at the moon, I feel like I’m on a time machine. I am back to that precious pinpoint of time, standing on the foreboding, yet beautiful, Sea of Tranquility. I could see our shining blue planet Earth poised in the darkness of space.”
Ah, looks like an awful lot of “light” fell to the ground in Norfolk.
I always liked the song by Blue Oyster Cult: I Love The Night
The chorus goes: I love the night. The day is ok and the sun can be fun
But I live to see those rays slip away.
Yes, we received around 7 inches of snow overnight to give us a total of over 10 inches on the ground. The clouds have parted and the light hurts the eyes. The Blue Oyster Cult tune could be the theme song for today’s blog post.