I said to a friend, “we see the darkness.”
We all see the darkness. It’s there, it lingers, it breathes just outside the light. It shapes, it shadows.
I walked through a dark forest without light and saw the other light.
It is like ours, but without sun. It is like the moon, but without a face.
I said to a friend, “we see the darkness, and some go in.”
Others don’t. I understand, but comprehension is not enough.
I walked again through a dark forest with a taper. It melts, burns the hand that shields the fragile flame. It illuminates even less than you’d expect, except when steps cease. And outside the circle of light? Darkness which is deeper.
“We see the darkness, and some go in. It is the abyss.”
Tired? He fled for so long. There could be no blame. Chased through sky and forests, rivers, wars, destruction. Sea breaking upon land. Axe in hand.
The last trick, final cunning, the last place he’d be found? Glinting against sun, wind through pinions. Before thrones, bound in prison. Where else could he hide?
No. I wasn’t hiding.
I said to a friend, “We see the darkness, and some go in. It is the abyss. We have to find out what is there, to find where the meaning leaks out.”
Our faces hold the light of others who are gone. Our faces become lined with shadow in their absence.
A final stand, then? Being chased so long, fatigue turned to rage, like the ermine seen by Breton kings just as the conquerors rolled in to slaughter. Turned like the ermine, flattened under wheel, a final, futile gesture to inspire those who’d remain?
No. That would have been futile, as you say.
I said to a friend, “We see the darkness, and some go in. It is the abyss. We have to find out what is there, to find out if there is meaning.
And we see only the abyss.
And some go mad.
And some never return.
I don’t know, then. Why?
The hunted hunts. There is no hunt without the hunted. There is no hunt without the hunter. I wanted to see how much the hunter wanted me.
“And some,” I said, “come back wielding light against that darkness. Seeing nothing, we bring back fire, we light lamps, candles, torches. We hold light that isn’t ours, as how else would anyone else see?”
Hold a candle in a dark forest and walk into the trees.
The wax burns your hand, but it cools. The light illuminates little as you walk.
And don’t imagine for a second that the candle is for you, but hold it anyway, because something is looking for you.