Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Darkening of the Light

Great title, says Mr. Signs, but people might think you're dying. You won't think that, I hope, when I tell you that it's from the I Ching and carries the image of the light sinking into the earth, which is right for the time of year. This is the view from my window as I sit tapping at the keys by the light of my trusty anglepoise and the Dell computer screen and the sun is going down. Out there in the darkness is my writing shed which I am not using very much at the moment, partly because the heater is faulty and we have come into quite a cold snap, but also because I like it here too.

As a young child, I lived in a German village and at Martinmas (which isn't until 11th November) I walked around with the children from my Kindergarten carrying a moon-faced lantern that was lit from within by a candle. We sang, Laterne, Laterne, Sonne, Mond und Sterne. The first time I did this I hadn't been in Germany very long, so this may have been the first song I learned. My mother was walking and singing beside me. The longer and darker the nights became, the more the candles were lit. I have never dreaded winter and the dark months. When my own children were little, I walked around with nightlights in painted jars and hollowed-out turnips singing, the light shines bright all through the night, la bimma la bimma la bim. It's something to carry with you, the image of light in darkness, for when other kinds of darkness come - the kind that is harder to identify.

I have challenges at the moment: some of those are good, necessary or adventurous ones; there are several poetry cafes coming up, writing to do - and I have decided to be brave and take new steps to see if I can bring about a radical change in my health. I fear failure but I will "do it anyway" on the basis that you only ever really regret what you don't do. Some of the challenges, though, I could do without; they are the kind that take light from you, and strength. It's ok, I've done it before, the lantern walk. When you are out in the open with the elements threatening to snuff out the flame you do what you can to shield it, and then you go back inside singing, the light grows dim as we go in, la bimma la bimma la bim. So that's what I'm doing for a space; withdrawing and keeping the flame safe and lit. It's Hallowe'en soon. I'll be lighting one for you all - and spooking around. (Obviously).


Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Keep that light burning, Signs, it can shine right through the darkness and come out into the other side which is all and only the brightest golden white light. I know. Truth is, the darkness is only there to show you how bright the light really is.

trousers said...

I like the balanced, constructive attitude towards your upcoming challenges. I wish you all the best with them, especially in dealing with the ones you feel you could do without.

I also love the imagery of the candles and embracing the darkness rather than being scared of it.

The first photograph is lovely, haunting and very evocative too.

Reading the Signs said...

Thank you, Vanilla and Trousers,

I can't think of anything to say other than that your responses are appreciated.

I'm really glad you liked the first image, Trousers, because that was the one taken with my trusty mobile phone.

cusp said...

Tread boldly and if it gets a bit much sometimes tuck old Poesie in close. She loves a cuddle

trousers said...

No problem, signs.

Shameless self-publicity here (for which I apologise) but that first picture immediately brought this to mind:


That's so pants said...

Hi Signs

Good decision. You won't know until you try. I'm sure it's right for you.



Reading the Signs said...

Hi Cusp - me and Poesie are planning this together. She is particularly keen on getting in a good supply of nuts and chocolate.

Trousers, I have had a look and see what you mean. Lovely images - and the words too, I like very much.

Well thanks, Pants - I'll send you a postcard.

Rabbit said...

Beautiful writing as always!

I remember as a little girl walking around our village with a candle and singing whilst following (Saint Lucia) a girl with candles on her head. Celebrated on the darkest longest night, Santa Lucia brought the sun back.

Good luck with all you have to face and thank you for the sweet thoughts on my blog. I’ll have a post up soonish hopefully.

Reading the Signs said...

Thank you, dear Rabbit. I will look in from time to time.
(Saint Lucia - a big festival in Sweden, I think?)

Collin said...

Yes, beautiful writing. Life is so busy and sometimes we forget ourselves and what we need. See you soon.

Reading the Signs said...

Yes - I'm looking forward to the reading, Collin. Will be in touch.

Anonymous said...

I like your melancholy and I like your spirit. Oh how this post warms me, somehow.

I think you are right to push yourself, push the realm of possibility, to see if there are different answers out there concerning your health. Let there be no regrets, good Signs, only new avenues.

And oh my goodness, I so loved your previous post -- your fathers hands, your hands. Eyes may be the window to the soul, but the hands are so telling -- the strength, the frailty, the scars, the softness.

Reading the Signs said...

Thank you for these lovely comments, David. Good wishes to you, and warmth.

Anonymous said...


Reading the Signs said...

~ and ∞

Anonymous said...

I read the signs... signs that explore an evolving language... signs that are made through sharing... signs that lead to new paths... signs that lead to old paths...

Anna MR said...

Signs honey - thinking about you, although being distinctly shite at writing regularly. Sorry about that, truly, but sending much love and mwahs. Hope the health thing works for you. Keep the candle burning, you are a star, Pirate Girl Prince. x

Kahless said...

Hello Signs,

You have always struck me as someone who is brave. Good on you for accepting those challenges and facing them.

Someone whose blog I visit has a motto...

"When was the last time, you did something for the first time."

It is a good motto and seems to be one that you live to too.

You are in my thoughts.

Reading the Signs said...

Thanks for your messages. Happy hallowe'en (retrospective, as it's just been).

Q: What do you call a man with a wooden head?
A: Edward

Q: What do you call a man with two wooden heads?
A: Edward Wood

Q: What do you call a man with three wooden heads?
A: Edward Woodward

Q: What do you call a man with four wooden heads?
A: I don't know, but Edward Woodward would.

pundy said...

Good writing, reading. Keep going.

Reading the Signs said...

Thank you, Pundy - I saw you at Mr. Moon's, thanks for visiting.