Sunday, December 6, 2009

Seeing in the Dark

"People who’ve never really been in the country are most surprised by its darkness at night. 'It’s so dark!' they say in disbelief, as if darkness weren’t an ancient, long-enduring experience, well attested in the human record. 'So dark!' they repeat, as if there were no other words for it. And sometimes they add, 'Aren’t you ever afraid?' Though we laugh, the frisson is wonderfully expressive. We know that the darkness of country nights is as precious as its fresh air.

"Every night it comes, not just a matter of the sky, but a feeling all around, like a meta-silence, a fifth element, more bodily than air, more humanly habitable than water. In it a different dimension of our senses comes forward. Sight modulates. We learn we can see in the dark and move around familiar territory. In fact sight shifts away from its analytical mode to become something more elemental, an easy confidence in the familiar, a being widely at home. Contrary to our instincts to take flashlights into the dark with us, we need sight less at night, because then it gives up the lead and falls into a lively, working fellowship with our other senses. Then we realize that our whole body is one delicate sense, creating at every moment the outline of energy of the other things in the world."

From Naming the Light by Rosemary Deen

1 comment:

Vic Mansfield said...

I'm thankful to live in an area enough away from city lights to see the stars.