This was an inspiring book to read for my few nights in the hermitage last week. Especially as one of Brown Taylor’s chapters is about doing exactly that. She writes insightfully about spending a night in a cabin in the woods, away from civilization, with no utilities.
She echoes a feeling I have been having for the last year, that the darkness of the nature away from artificial light, is not frightening, but enjoyable. The sense of isolation is palpable (if one is disciplined about limited use of a phone). I have grown to enjoy this as my friend. I have started to look forward to waking up in the middle of the night to enjoy the starkness. It gives me an opportunity to face all my fears without distractions. Epistemologically, dark can be as constructive, beautiful as the light.
Most of us have realized that times of darkness are an inevitable part of life. Learning to walk, talk, not being debilitated, even flourishing, are useful skills to have to build resilience and resourcefulness. Befriending aspects of life that have traditionally been seen as our enemy, is a healthy goal of mature spiritual well-being. For me, this has been eyeballing my fears. Learning to live in the darkness becomes living in the light.
Over the past year, I have realized that the night is not really, really dark. Even in the middle of a cloudy night, my eyes adjust to being able to see down the length of the garden and out to the river. I will blog another time on night shadows.