Into the Dark PotPourri


*Witches, someone once said, are people who aren’t afraid of darkness; that’s why they frighten other people. We’re trained, here, deep in the belly of Patriarchy, to fear darkness and to always “seek the light.” And that’s sad, because the darkness has gifts.

This Summer, I had to replace the blinds in my bedroom and I got “blackout blinds” that completely cut the outside light and leave my bedroom in real darkness. I’ve been amazed at the difference that they make. I wake up more rested and, in particular, my eyes feel about 100% better. (Makes sense. I make my living reading books and staring at a computer screen.) There’s some research that indicates that sleeping in darkness may cut the risk of breast cancer. But the real gift is the deep feeling of comfort and safety and embrace that I find inside the dark. I love my shining city on a swamp, but the light pollution here is rather severe. If I could make just one change, it would be to be able to see all of the stars at night. And all of the darkness.

*I had dinner tonight with Son, DiL, and G/Son. As I was leaving, G/Son ran up to me and gave me a Solstice card that he’d drawn for me. At five, his pictures are more like runes or hieroglyphs than watercolors, but he does love to draw. His Solstice card shows a bright sun and a king and queen, as well as some other figures that I’m not sure how to interpret. But I know that he’ll be able to explain them to me. There’s a whole lot of Pisces in that kid.

*

*Gardeners are people who notice changes. All over my little bit of Zone 7, we’re seeing changes now that shouldn’t be happening for at least another sixty or ninety days. I can almost hear the plants being confused, mumbling and jumbling beneath the Earth. It’s too early for my miniature daffs to be pushing up. It’s too early for my euonymous shrub to be leafing out. It’s too early for my neighbor’s forsythia to be in bloom. It’s too early for the buds on my Spring camellia to be so big. And, it’s too late. It’s too late for the robins that should have already gone South to be lingering here, eating the birdseed that I leave for the regular Winter birds. (Hawk knows this, as well, sitting every morning in my old maple tree, regarding the bird feeders as a connoisseur regards a selection of caviar.) Goddess knows what next Spring will bring. If we do (as I think we will) get some bad freezes, some things may simply die, having bloomed too early. Interesting to be a priestess of the Great Mother Earth, here at the beginning of the Great Die-Off. (And, by interesting I mean, as any gardener knows, heart-breaking.) There’s an old quotation I’ve always loved: “I have always known that at last I would take this road, but yesterday I did not know that it would be today.” I did not know when I bought this bit of Earth with an euonymous bush that it might be my job to dig it up and compost it. But it may be. It may be my job. And, if it is, I hope that I will perform that task as a priestess, as a devoted daughter of a shifting Gaia. What else is there for me to do? We are clearly at the beginning of the end of the old normal. “A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct. This every sister of the Bene Gesserit knows.” ~ Manual of Muad’Dib by the Princess Irulan. I am standing between the ending and the beginning. I do not know the correct balances. I think that Mother Earth will teach me.

* If you’re not reading Byron every day, what’s wrong with you?

*The flowers in my garden are all white or (one shade or another of) black (which often means “purple” as nature, oddly, created so few black flowers). Here’s Mary Oliver talking about white flowers and darkness:

Last night
in the fields
I lay down in the darkness
to think about death,
but instead I fell asleep,
as if in a vast and sloping room
filled with those white flowers
that open all summer,
sticky and untidy,
in the warm fields.
When I woke
the morning light was just slipping
in front of the stars,
and I was covered
with blossoms.
I don’t know
how it happened—
I don’t know
if my body went diving down
under the sugary vines
in some sleep-sharpened affinity
with the depths, or whether
that green energy
rose like a wave
and curled over me, claiming me
in its husky arms.
I pushed them away, but I didn’t rise.
Never in my life had I felt so plush,
or so slippery,
or so resplendently empty.
Never in my life
had I felt myself so near
that porous line
where my own body was done with
and the roots and the stems and the flowers
began.

May it be so for you.

Photo, from the author’s garden, by the author. If you copy, please link back.

5 responses to “Into the Dark PotPourri

  1. Peace and love to you this Solstice!

  2. Thanks for sharing this. ~oxa

  3. NTodd and Allyson,

    Many thanks and may your Solstice be blessed!

  4. My tiger lily’s started to grow again and I’m in zone 5. One thing though, not all robins go all the way south in winter, the robin isn’t actually the first sign of spring.. The real bird of spring is the Red Winged Blackbird, we should first here him in late February in Zone 5. And yep, it is him as the females move north later.

  5. If all you have to compost in the coming “Great Die Off” is a beloved euonymous bush, blessed you will be. My fears are a bit darker I hate to admit.

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