On this day of sunlight and chores, I end the afternoon walking through the back areas of town, behind the town garage and around this year’s dwindling sand pit. I turn around in the neighborhood with the scary unleashed dog, backing up slowly and doing, perhaps, exactly what should not be done.
Out of sheer carelessness, I never got the wood stove heated up to temp this morning, early at my desk, so intent, that I carelessly let the stove smolder low. In the day’s heat, I’ve let the stove dwindle further. That chore awaits me. My carelessness annoys my daughter, who’s afraid of burning the house down (what sane Vermonter isn’t at least slightly afraid of that?) and in love with the stove’s fierce heat. Two things at once. Which sums up March. Winter and spring. Breezy clean and ponderous with the thawing earth’s muck.
I pass hardly a soul on my walk and wonder if I should have made friends, or at least a kind of peace, with that snarling dog. As I walk, the air cools. The puddles are luminous with what remains of the day. I remember that beloved line from Wendell Berry — To know the dark, go dark — the line that’s driven so much of life. When I get home, I look it up.
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 traveled by dark feet and dark wings.