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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Walking In The Dark

        Halloween is associated with darkness.  The main activities of Halloween are in the evening. The events usually include some sort of "haunted" attraction that is dark or dimly lit. The mythology and imagery surrounding the occasion mostly deal with graveyards, spirits, witches, vampires and other places and creatures of the darker realms.  Halloween celebrates the night.
        I got to thinking about this last night as I walked around in darkness.  My wife usually goes to bed much earlier than I do, so when I am coming to bed I keep the lights off as much as possible so as not to disturb her sleep. I shut off the lights in my home office and prowl through the darkened house as I make my way to bed.  At first, before my eyes have been able to adjust to the change in lighting, it seems very dark. Then gradually I am able to realize that it is really not that dark at all.  Light from the outside filters through the closed blinds. There are many red, green, or amber lights from appliances and electronic devices and clocks throughout the house. I am amazed at all of the various lights that remain on always. Momentarily I recall hearing on the Southwest Radio Church program one time that the government of the "Beast" that will one day rule the entire world will be able to "watch" everyone in Big Brother fashion through the electronics that are always on in our homes. Pausing, I wonder if they could see me in this darkness.
          I enjoy walking around the house in the dark.  In a way it seems like an exercise that helps increase my visual acuity as well heightening other senses. I walk carefully so as not to hurt myself or knock anything over. A few times I have painfully banged my toe making me more careful about where I direct my steps. I pride myself on my night vision.  Walking in the dark house is like practicing for being blind or having a severe visual impairment.  I hope it never happens, but for short periods I get some sense of what it would be like.  I like being able to see well so I want my eyes to be healthy, but walking in the dark can be a challenge.
          As a matter of fact, I've always liked walking in the dark.  Back to the idea of the challenge in one part, but also the feeling of mystery and fear and sense of peacefulness and solitude walking or just being in the dark sometimes offers.  To be in a darkened room, not sleeping, but just resting, reflecting, and meditating can be immensely restoratitve to the soul.  The womb-like retreat of a dark place can feel safe and sheltering.  Usually you can see in the dark as we usually encounter darkness like as when I am walking around the house.  It's not like the demonstration of real darkness that cavern tour guides in places like Carlsbad Caverns give you when they will at one point turn off the lights. That's real darkness. Back when I was in my 20's my friends and I would sometimes engage ourselves in spelunking--cave exploration--and almost always at some point we would turn out our lights to experience the darkness.  If we would have ever lost our lights, then that would have been true terror.  True blindness.
         Once, in that same era of my life when I was still living at home with my parents back in Tennessee, my friend Fred (God rest his departed soul) and I decided to hike to the top of the Chimney Top peaks in the Smokey Mountains to see the sunrise.  Fred spent the night at my house and we got up about 3 AM and drove to the Chimney Tops trailhead.  It was a couple hour hike so most of it had to be done in the darkness in order to experience sunrise at the summit. I had attempted the hike twice before in the daylight.  The first time my friend Marvin and I somehow got off the trail and ended up on a different trail where we came upon some other hikers who had food and shared their lunch with us. We never made it to the Chimney Tops. My second visit with two other friends reached the intended destination and it was then I decided that one day I would return for the sunrise. When Fred and I made the trek we did so without flashlights. The darkness was especially intense on the trail because it was totally forested. We walked carefully.  The trail was visible enough to follow but all around us was the ambiguity of the dark, silent mountain forest. We had a goal and persisted until we reached the top.  The sky was lightening with the dawn and the cool August morning air was still with anticipation.  We found some rocks at the pinnacle and waited.  Then, as though God were speaking to us, the sun appeared along with a grand whoosh of the wind.  It was breathtaking and the two of  us watched silently.
           I like to walk in darkness, in the literal sense, as long as I can see a little bit and I'm not totally blind.  If I can see something in the darkness and have a pretty good idea of where I'm going, then I know that if I am careful I should be okay and get to my destination safely. However, often I think we all walk in darkness in the figurative sense.  We may lack spirituallity, God, love, friendship, knowledge, wisdom, or whatever makes us more enlightened or goal-oriented in our lives.  We walk with uncertaintity, loneliness, sadness, and fears that cannot seem to be assuaged.  That is not a pleasant darkness in which to walk.
            Some oft given advice for trick-or-treaters since they will be out walking in the dark is that they should carry some sort of light.  The light is not really intended for the trick-or-treaters to find their way through the streets. Normally there is enough light  for everyone to see where they are going in the streets of the neighborhood.  The light that they are advised to carry is so that people can see them.


  1. >>[Momentarily I recall hearing on the Southwest Radio Church program one time that the government of the "Beast" that will one day rule the entire world will be able to "watch" everyone in Big Brother fashion through the electronics that are always on in our homes.]<<

    "Please, dear reader, let this soak in! Your cell phone is (or soon will be) a tracking device (whether in use or not) for the government to continually pinpoint your exact location. With your cell phone, you will be under 100% surveillance!"
    ~ Donald S. McAlvany
    'The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor: An In-Depth Monetary, Economic, Geopolitical And Precious Metals Analysis'
    August, 2007

    rLEE boid!
    Just a few days ago you were asking me for suggestions about how to increase Blog readership and here you already have 3 people "Following" your Blog. It took me almost a year and half to acquire three Followers of my political Blog and nearly that long for my 'Stuffs' Blog, too. You're doing something right, that's for sure. Perhaps you have some suggestions for ME on how to increase Blog readership?

    ~ Stephen
    <"As a dog returns to his own vomit,
    so a fool repeats his folly."
    ~ Proverbs 26:11>

  2. I always have enjoyed hearing what Don McAlvany has to say. Haven't been keeping up with him lately. I used to get something in the mail from his organization, but I never sent them any money or ordered anything so I guess they took me off their active list. But I'm sure I'm on all kinds of lists that government might consider or one day consider to be "subversive" and they could come get me whenever they wanted. So tracking me by my cell phone, which I'm sure they already do to some extent, or by my TV or computer, which they probably do, is just more evidence against me. But no big deal.

    As far as increasing your folloing, maybe you need to do some shameless self-promotion? I don't know. Three people is not much, but it's only been a week and a half. One of them is one of my daughters who was already a follower of one of her friend's blog. If it starts increasing at an amazing rate then I'll let know why if I can figure it out.

    Thanks for the input,

  3. Next time we go to Tennessee I would like to take that hike. That would be really neat!

  4. The hike to the Chimney Tops is one that I would highly recommend. It would probably be best on a spring day when it's not raining, or a fall day, or a not too hot summer day. I don't know about winter because parts of the hike could be very perilous if there were ice and snow. The view is great and the formation itself is rather interesting.

  5. You said not many people read your early posts, so I came over to read this one.

    Very excellent the way you examine darkness both literally and figuratively. I enjoyed this. It got me recalling memories of Halloween. Of dark places. Of once being shut up in Mama's clothes closet, hiding, breathing her moth balls.

    Yes. Thank you.

  6. We travel often to Tennessee and the Chimney Top hike is one of our favorites!

    And Carlsbad Caverns is truly the epitome of darkness. It was startling, that blackness.

    I, too love the dark. You did a great job giving darkness its due. Darkness is usually portrayed as evil and frightening. Thanks for showing its softer side.

    Congrats on being BON.

  7. Nice post, as the others have said. I don't enjoy walking in the pitch darkness; my eyeballs feel like they're going to explode as they try to let in more light. But I do like that moment when you realize that your eyes have adjusted and now you can see an amazing amount.

  8. Ann -- Thanks for your visit. Ah yes, closets-- among the favorite dark haunts of childhood and hide and go seek.

    Joann -- thank you for coming over to this post.

    Grandma-- Sometimes darkness is not quite as bad as it initially seems.


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