The dark blooms and sings

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.  To know the dark, go dark.  Go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, and is travelled by dark feet and dark wings.

– Wendell Berry

These Wendell Berry lines have been banging around in my head for a few days.  (fighting – or harmonizing – with Annie Lennox and the omnipresent Willy W, of course).  I so agree with what he implies, with the notion that to really know the dark we have to surrender to it.  We have to let our eyes adjust, which means we must go in without any external light.  And that, in that darkness, there is a beauty that we never imagined.

Berry’s words make me think, first of all, about internal darkness.  Of what it takes for us to really know the darkness there, to gaze into the ragged hole that exists in the center of all of our souls, to push on the bruise, to feel the wound.  Perhaps ironically, for me, I have often described the feeling of that intense darkness as staring into the sun.  It has been the focus of the last months of my life, for sure: relenting in my frantic white-knuckled attempts to control, accepting the way it is and in so doing releasing my desperate focus on the way I wanted it to be.

It has only been when I have really let myself lean into that darkness, accept that my deepest wound is the profound sadness of impermanence, that I’ve started seeing the gifts that are there.  As I sink into the way my life actually is, everyday I find unexpected gems buried in the mundane.  Sure, I also cry a lot more.  Every single day I face the truth that this is the last day that my baby will be 5, the last time I’ll have a Beginner, the last, the last, the last.  I grieve and mourn constantly, far more than I imagined possible.

But there’s also beauty here.  Surprising, staggering, serendipitous beauty.  Divinity buried in the drudgery.  Dark feet and dark wings.

14 thoughts on “The dark blooms and sings”

  1. Beautiful post. It is so hard sometimes to accept and lean into the darkness, but often when we do, we find that the darkness has a lot to teach us. Thanks for sharing.

  2. light is seen/finite but darkness is unseen/unknown/infinite…

    just heard your interview..
    would love to read some more words from you on ‘trust’…

  3. I am just familiarizing myself with your lovely blog… As I read your ‘About Me’ page and this latest piece, I can’t help but recognize that you are accomplishing what you sought out to do.

    You say, ” I am troubled by my inability to live more presently, which makes me keenly sad about the passage of time. The way that my children mark the inexorable movement of time is something I find very difficult; this bittersweetness is sometimes almost unbearable.” The bitter in bittersweet is, in part, this dark place (where you realize what moving forward inevitably means you have lost) that accompanies the sweet (light) place. And by recognizing what value there is in the dark, well…. you may be less sad about the passage of time and more accepting.

    It’s funny to hear other moms talk about the passage of time. A friend of mine once said, although I am not sure if it was her own or a well-known quote, “For moms, the days are long but the years are short.” It is so true for me.

    Today was a snow day for all 3 of my kids…. and at 7am with the whole day stretched out before us and my insistence that we not watch TV (since it is technically still a school day…. house rules!), the hours did, at times, creep by. But now, it is 9:30 and the two little ones are fast asleep and my oldest is reading quietly in bed and I can’t help but think that I will never have this day again and I should have appreciated it more. I should have savored it. I should have played more games… Well, I can’t go back…. so I will try harder to do so next time.

    I am excited to follow you and I am going to place some of your posts on my blog as well because we seem to be on a similar journey.


  4. Hi. It’s Laura (@lala34mc) from Twitter. I just came back to your blog and saw this beautiful post. What you said about “leaning into the darkness” is so wise…similar to something I read today on Tiny Buddha. I learned and really embraced this concept because of Pema Chodron and her teachings and books. I’m sure you’ve come across her, but if you have not, do. She quite saved me, more than once.

    Anyway, I like your blog. I think we’d be friends if we ever get to meet. 🙂

  5. I wonder, do you think you will ever move beyond the introspection through to resolution? I find when I look inside, I have no problem seeing or acknowledging the wounds there. The trouble for me is to move beyond them – to change my way of thinking. I wonder.

  6. What a beautiful post. Embracing the darkness can bring such gifts, but, for me, it feels terrifying to do. I am with you on the white-knuckled efforts to control. Being in the moment, with all its existential angst about impermanence, is both essential and impossible.

  7. I so love this, Lindsey. Something about the surrender you describe reminds me of dreams I’ve had, where I’m driving off a cliff or falling into the sea, and I expect to smash or drown but find myself, to my great and wondrous surprise, feeling no impact, breathing just fine.

Comments are closed.