Friday, 17 January 2014

the gift of darkness

This is my second winter of walking the same path.  In darkness, I climb up the farm road, and as I turn to complete my circle, instead of staying to the road, I head into the field that steeply leads into more field, and then I head home. Usually by the time I turn to enter the field, the sun is nearly up, and if I keep my head up instead of looking down, I see the exact moment the sun rises over the southern hills.  

This circle, this walk, strangely shapes my winter days.  I don't know if it is the darkness turning to light or if it is that I am always alone, but this winter walk always feels different.  

I shouldn't be surprised that I need darkness, but I am. 

The other day, it was dark, really dark, thanks to the low clouds. I could hear the traffic in the distance and the occasional commuter train heading to Edinburgh and I felt slightly reassured.  There were several moments, though, when I paused on the climb up the hill, and considered turning around because it was too dark. I could barely see the path in front of me and I wondered if the light will ever come. 

I plodded on despite the darkness and my fears about what might lie ahead.  

What really keeps me walking in this darkness is the poetic love affair I have with Nature. To be outside with Her when she turns from dark to light--that short moment of the day when if I could feel time move, it would be now--feeds my desire to keep walking with the dark.

Darkness gives my sight a chance to take a break while encouraging my thoughts to take shape, giving voice to metaphors and movements, shapes and sounds.  And the rhythm of my walking becomes the form that holds my life together. 


  1. oh, yes. yes. yes.
    The tender moment of darkness turning to dawn. It is a private moment. When I am there for it I feel so connected to the earth and to the infinite, all at once. And, funny, I am silly enough to think that it is mine. While it is also yours, and others and others and others. And now, when I am there, I might think of you, too, though, strangely, your experience of it comes 6 hours before mine.
    Thank you for this meditation. I ran up in those hills when I came to visit and I remember their beauty.

  2. yes, audrey, it is such a private moment and yet when i notice the grandness of the big sea and the vast sky and the ever rolling hills, i know i am part of something infinite. i think of you too when walking so early. you are the only person i know who gets up way before the sun.