Being in the darkness

Even when we are in the dark, it’s not entirely black.

For that, we would need to go way underground, as Robert Macfarlane’s book, Underland, explores.

But it can feel disorientating when we have no markers to make sense of where we are.

In these situations, we often look for the light. Any light.

Yet not all lights are equal.

Sometimes we want the brightest, clearest light to show us the way out. And then find it’s artificial and its promises are shallow, or worse.

Instead, we might let our eyes adjust to see the reality around us and in us.

Befriending the uncertainty and loss. Seeing in their shadows more fullness than the neon glare or fairy lights could ever offer.


Do not show me your bright stars;
we cannot grow
among the shine and the glitter;

Show me instead your dark matter,
lead me to the places
where those stars collapsed;

let’s fall towards the blackness together,
across the event horizon
into something better.

+ Gideon Heugh, from ‘Darkling: An Advent Journey’ and ‘Rumours of Light.’


This week

I appreciate the company of those together on the Darkling Advent journey. Thank you. And for those who would like more of Robert Macfarlane and his exploration of Underland: A Deep Time Journey, his conversation with Krista Tippett for the On Being Podcast is delightful.