a collection of words on the topic of darkness & light illustrated with photographs composed & executed by the author with the intention of illuminating & expanding upon the theme of night & its light

st. gabriel blows his horn (light emanates from it.) i spend a lot of time awake in the dark hours, awake early, dog walk before the sun comes up & it’s always a surprise to me at how ‘light’ the night (or early morning hours) really are.  yes, i’ve spent words & time on this subject before, but it continues to nag me.  there is a quality of unworldliness to these hours & this light that attract me (a moth, no flame.)

morning stars.  there are times when i’m completely dumbfounded by the inky blackness even though the ambient bounce-back is great.  the other evening i witnessed two falling stars (or space junk on re-entry, who really knows?)  but in spite of my doubt, i prefer to believe that they were shooting stars & that i was thrilled by them.  it startled me & it delighted me & i thought that maybe i should say a prayer (to who?) but all i could think of was “now i lay me down to sleep, i pray the lord my soul to keep, but should i die before i wake, i pray the lord my soul to take.”  my childhood litany liltingly recited for any adult within earshot.  (it seemed to please them & i was all about pleasing adults.)

the sun, though, starts to seep into the eastern sky, pushing at the blue-black morning darkness (a paper shade being pulled up.)  one of my favorite greek myths is of helios (apollo for you romans) in his chariot circling the globe with his sleek horses pulling the brightness that is his burden (it must be a burden, the routine, the sameness.)  but in spite of the quality of helios’ life, i imagine it must be a life of grandeur & love, for who among us does not worship the sun?

the dogs seem unaffected by the light at night.  they do not care if it is light or dark, their only concern is the scent of passing strangers that lingers on each blade of grass, each stone, each flower-bed; the smallest moment of time is all it takes for someone else to have passed by & there!  there they read the scent, consumed, focused, their attention razor-sharp (what it must be like to live so viscerally, no words to explain how you feel, only response to outside stimuli.)

the century plants could care less (if that were possible.)  they do not reflect on the passage of time/day/night/month/year.  time could move backward & they would not care.  the light from the street lamp illuminates their succulence & if, even for just a moment, you look carefully you will see them grow.

fall comes regardless, but time, at night, in the dark, seems to move differently than time in the daylight.  the light is more reflective (as one might be reading a sacred text.)  i assign greater meaning to the night light than to day light (which erases the previous lesson with its strong arms, whoosh, whoosh back & forth across the sky’s blackboard.)  for some time when i was much younger i thought i might be a monk (the silence appealed to me.)  & i would illuminate (helios christianized) other people’s words with gold leaf & brilliant inks, deftly & minutely pulling the startling crimson ink, the blue a deep lapis lazuli, & inky black (the night) up & around & through the words of a god.


2 Responses to “a collection of words on the topic of darkness & light illustrated with photographs composed & executed by the author with the intention of illuminating & expanding upon the theme of night & its light”

  1. November 7, 2010 at 5:53 am

    This is wonderful writing, beautifully illustrated, and for me especially evocative of memory. For many years I endured a long daily commute – 2+ hours each way. I had to be up and about every morning by 4:30 a.m. I actually came to love those early hours, once I discovered how beautiful they could be – a kind of compensation for the lost hours of daylight during the return trip after work. I’m still an early riser!

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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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