When reading Loren's post the other day (In a Dark Time.....the eye begins to see - see my blog list - he takes the most wonderful bird photos) it struck me what a brilliant quotation that is. Taken at face value it is true - the longer you walk in the dark the more you can see as your eyes adjust to the change.
Here we are quite a long way from artificial outdoor light (except for the neighbouring haulage yard which has security lights). But we have only to walk down the fields on a really starry night to get the full effect and to marvel at the wonderful display. People who live in towns never see this wonder. Where I grew up, in the Lincolnshire Fens, the skies were huge as the land was so flat (I am sure Reader Wil in The Netherlands has the same experiences now) and the stars, in those days of few artificial lights, were spectacular. What a lot people miss. I can only imagine the effect from the centre of the Sahara Desert.
We often walk in the dark. In the days when we had a dairy herd the farmer and I would walk down the fields in the early hours to check on a calving cow. He would take a lamp but rarely put it on until we had to start searching for the cow (finding a black and white cow in the dark is not so easy - thank goodness for the white patches!). It is surprising how quickly one's eyes would adjust to the dark. And on a moonlight night one soon sees almost as well as during the day.
There is something about the dark that gives a whole different meaning to the landscape.
But, of course, in the wider sense the quotation has even more meaning. I hear this morning that my friends grandson is well on the way to recovery - physically. Mentally only time will tell. One thing is for sure though, he will never see things in quite the same way again. For it is often the "dark" times that shape our future, that make us see things in a different way. For some this is a positive experience but for others, sadly, it can become negative. But, as the quotation says, it is only that contrast between dark and light, both physically and metaphorically, that really makes us see things in perspective.
The quotation is from the work of the American poet, Theodore Roethke, who died at the tragically young age of 55. Good that these words have survived him and taken on such meaning.