Have you ever really looked at a particularly deep patch of shade nestled into a nook – perhaps beneath a tree or a back porch, maybe in a secreted corner of your yard – on an otherwise brilliant day? Have you ever taken the time to consider the unique beauty of such a bit of shadow, or perhaps even found yourself relating to it in some trivial way?
Yesterday was the first truly beautiful day we’ve seen here since autumn gave birth to winter. The sun was warm and bright and rather lovely, and the sky was an endless canvas of perfect blue. Because of this, I felt compelled to spend the better part of the day outdoors.
In the earliest part of the day – right after I made my first post and decided not to waste such a glorious day shackled to my computer – it was just me and my littlest little’un outside enjoying the nice weather. We flitted about in the yard not really doing anything but having fun with it nonetheless. At some point, she went off on her own adventure, and I plucked a few weeds from my pathetic excuse for a herb garden. As I was doing this, my attention was drawn to a deep sliver of shade tucked into the corner where my back deck meets my house, and my mind drifted momentarily. I knelt there with a limp brown weed in one hand, and the fingers of my other hand pressed against the stiff dirt. I cocked my head ever so slightly and crinkled my brow – something I should really stop doing if I don’t want to look like Yoda by the time I’m 45, but seem to do every time I leap into some new sea of thought – and gazed intently at that tiny scrap of the world that had been completely ignored by the light. At the time, I wasn’t even sure why I was so fascinated by it; I only knew that it struck me as rather stunning and somewhat sad all at the same time.
My reverie was interrupted by the call of, “Mommy… mommy come. Mommy… spider… come.” Kara (we’ll call her that – I just realized I never gave my girls fancy pseudonyms) is currently obsessed with spiders. Personally, I love the eight-legged little freaks, but only from a distance; like in pictures; and I’m really not fond of being close to them, and I pretty much loathe being touched by them. I held a tarantula once for about thirty seconds just to prove to myself that I could, and my skin still crawls with the memory of it. Anyways, Kara found a spider – one of the huge fat ones we sometimes find around here that look like genetic mutations. Her excitement was infectious and I lost my train of thought, stood up and went off to follow her to her treasure and didn’t think about the patch of shade again until I was lying in bed last night.
Just as my head hit the pillow, the memory of that strange fascination I’d felt for the patch of shade came back to me. At first, I couldn’t figure out what my obsession might be about, but after awhile, I finally came to understand it; I identified with it in some abstract way. It was like a nature’s reflection of my own personality; a shard of darkness swaddled in light. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the analogy, and the more I liked it, the more I thought about it. Clearly, I’m still thinking about it now.
While I don’t spend much of my time moping about in depression, there will always be a piece of me that the light doesn’t touch. It’s that place I write from when I look at humanity with pessimism and disgust; the echo of a life that used to be that will never entirely be silenced. Despite what this inner blackness was born from, I actually like this little shard of gloom; I know how strange that must sound, but I do. It reminds me of where I came from and helps me to appreciate (even more) where I now am. Also, it is the source of many of the more (I think) interesting parts of my personality. It’s the part of me that takes perverse amusement in scaring people; if you’re a jumpy sort of person, you do not want to watch horror movies with me, or go camping with me – I do so love my ghost stories; and the part of me that stands as the eternal sentinel to the more vulnerable part(s) of my personality. It’s where my ‘bullshit’ radar is located – that inner survivalist that knows when you’re being less than straight with me when I look you in the eyes – and where all my monsters are born. While I don’t spend a lot of time focusing on my inner shadow, I’m usually aware of it, and while I prefer to live in the light, I would suffer (greatly I believe) if I ever lost that last splinter of gloom.
If you’ve ever watched Dexter, you’ve heard him muse about his ‘dark passenger’. I like that a lot. Not that I have a serial killer living in my internal shade – don’t worry, I’m a little saner than Dexter – I just like the way he describes his darkness. Personally, I believe a lot of us have that little bit of black at the center of our brightly brushed personal painting; that tiny void that gives us a certain balance. I also believe that if we were all brilliance and rainbows all the time, the world would likely be a pretty boring place.
Anyways, that’s my random thought for the morning (every now and then I think of the ‘Deep Thoughts with Jack Handy’ skits from Saturday Night Live when I muse – weird), I’ll be back along shortly with a little something else, but I really need to catch up on some blogs just now. Happy 1st of April folks!