Friday, August 7, 2009

The Dark Place

Each of us has our Dark Place.

Not the safe warm embrace of dusk where we sometimes escape and nestle in the womblike embrace of silence and gentle dawn, where the absence of noise and strife soothes and replenishes spirits battered by lives that have spiralled into chaos and franticness.

No, the Dark Place is a place of grief, of sorrow and despair. It is a creeping, black place where you stumble and fall, and cut yourself on shards of misery and stumble over intent and stub your toe against indecision and regret.

Every single human being has a Dark Place; as children we recognize and fear it and cry out into the night for our parents who soothe us and whisper lies meant to be truths that there is no Dark Place while frantically beating back the fingers of Dark which reach into their own lives.

The human beast is resilient and the pervasive memory of the Dark Place fades and is thrust deep inside as realities of life claim focus and the fleeting pleasure of thought and action, feeling and meaning bring light and create havens, pockets of small moments that illuminate and provide hope (the Dark Place despises hope).

But the Dark Place is always there. The Dark Place festers like a suppurating sore deep in our souls. Its pull is insidious and at times, powerful. Its siren call resonates in moments of great adversity and echoes in our hearts during intervals of pain and disillusion.

For some the Dark Place is familiar and oft visited, a place of reluctant familiarity, for those, “despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” ... and cruel realities open the path to the Dark Place’s familiar nooks and crannies, its dark corridors of woeful certitude.

For some, the stay in the Dark Place is thankfully brief, a natural resilience of spirit and belief makes their sojourn in its frigid corridors infrequent and short-lived. For others, the realities of the Dark Place are their everyday bread, its dark embrace more familiar than the light of alternate thought.

As individual as each human being is, so too is their personal Dark Space unique.

I know mine intimately. Its dark corridors are familiar territory, though all Dark Places are ever-changing, moving about and confusing and disorienting their inhabitants. I cast my mind back over a life of contrast and disparity, of places of Light and Illusion and then the inevitable descent into Darkness. and Disillusion and find in the certitude of the inevitable Fall, a bitter irony.

For no matter that when light floods our lives and drowns our gaze in radiant want, cloaking darkness in the refracted glow of hope, the Dark Place survives and waits for dusk to fall.


Buffalo said...

The Dark Place is, indeed, a part of all of us. It is a place we don't want to live, but visits are inevitable.

mouse said...

Oh I can relate. I existed (I can't say lived because there was no life) in my dark place for many years. Triggered by death, and lost in this abyss that was so confusing to me. I hope I never return but my fear is that I will.


selkie said...

Buff, the realties of life are that where there is light there is dark - and perhaps only by knowing the one can we appreciate the other.

mouse, it is frightening, but keep in mind, sweetie, you DID find your way back - there is always a path out.

Anonymous said...

There is an old saying that it is always darkest before the dawn. I believe it means that no matter how much the dark abhors the light or hope it comes anyways.

Or perhaps if I am just another delusional optimist

PrettyGirl said...

The darkness, creeping, invasive and suffocating. It is always there, even when things are good it lingers along the edges -- waiting, insidious. All I knew was that I did not want to die there,,,I have no answer for how I came out, but I knew I did not want to die there. CD

Jz said...

Hate the Dark Place. My last visit lasted way too long. I'm hoping that means I get some extra time in the light before the next time. Well, actually, what I'm really hoping is that I never have to go back again! But that's unrealistic. We all have to spend some time there, like it or not. (Would you really trust anyone who said, "Oh, I NEVER get depressed!"?)

What's intriguing, though, is how, as PrettyGirl said, you often can't tell how you got out. It's not like you can actually *see* the path. But we somehow know it when we stumble upon it...

Vesta said...

I'm with Sir J on this one. I think it is in us all to look for the light, and there is some abiding optimism in us all, in at least some measure, that knows that the light must come.

When I had my last child, and after he no longer wanted to breast feed, I feel into the dark with no notion as to when the light would come. I managed to get myself to a class with tai chi. It was the stilling of my mind, that little piece of time to myself, that had me noticing a little ray of light. One positive thought begets another and before I knew it, I was standing in bright sunshine.

I truly believe in two things: movement of the body and stillness of the mind. Then, problems seem so much more solvable.

Liras said...

I am a bit weird, for I have gained peace from my darkness. It is not as scary as it was, for I have tamed the monster.

(She looks just like me. Sharper teeth, though.)

As a child, the first lesson I learned was to not be afraid of the physical darkness, to find my way around it, not to be ruled by my eyes but to use my other senses.

I think that has helped me deal with hurt, anger, depression, as I matured. They were these states I had to pass through, not places where I would get lost. My body finds the way, my mind does, too.

Due to life changing drastically, I live in my dark place, it just mirrors the daytime. Night tends to be darker, a plush stark velvet but it is my home.

For now.

I know this is not of what you speak but I will say I have never been clearly in the sun/in the dark. It has always been dappled shade, for me.