Not By Light Alone

Darn near every moment these May Vermont days, the greenery deepens, fattening mightily, rushing headlong in the chlorophyll world as if making up for winter’s lengthy dormancy.

Walking in the dusky, gently falling rain last night? How could we not love this? All that growth – leaf, blossom, peepers, owls – chorusing around us.

Likely the most unresolvable argument of my life was about darkness, with a person who insisted I not embrace the darkness, not press it near my heart. Every one of my days for nearly the past 19 years has been filled with growing babies and children, teenagers now, with beeswax crayons and playhouses made from sheets, and an endless round of apple slices; at the same time, I’ve also lived through the planting, harvest, and demise of many gardens. Every year, I pass the unknown day of my death and the days of the deaths of everyone I love, and I know, even as the thrust of spring is so mightily powerful and unstoppable, all this will change, too. Our world holds both courage and cowardice, generosity and betrayal.

I’d rather know that, too, than not.

Thanks to State 14 for picking up a blog entry of mine. What a pleasure to be included with their fine writers and photographers.

Don’t be afraid of getting lost. Journey as far as you can. Find the dusk and the gloom. Fill your lungs with it. It’s the only way you’ll negotiate the light. Be worried. That’s okay. The dark is something to sound out too.

Brecht asked if there would be singing in the dark times, and he answered that yes, there would be singing about the dark times.

They are indeed dark times: be thankful. Sing them.

Colum McCann, Letters to a Young Writer


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