I used to hate Fall. I was Summer’s child. My sweatshirt didn’t come off until it was at least 80 degrees (for the rest of the world that’s 27 degrees). Now in 80-degree heat I’m melting like an ice-cream cone and begging for AC. When the days shorten and cool I get a thrill I never knew as a younger woman. A thing inside me that has dreamt through the long days of light begins to stir with the lengthening nights. The time for busy exterior work dwindles, leaving more for interior reflection. The light shrinks. Slipping through a knothole, it shines inward. I glow like a twilit Kinkade cottage.
I’ve wondered why Kinkade’s work is so immensely popular. I suspect it’s because the viewer is often outside looking toward a promised warmth. We all feel outside sometimes. We all want a promise that there is someplace safe and warm, where will be welcomed. “The Painter of Light” fulfills that promise. No one wants to be “in the dark”. We all want to be in the know, which being in the light suggests. Light is goodness, darkness is bad. If we are in the light, we are in the pale. We fit. We are accepted and secure. Good things live in the light, bad things occupy the dark, things like fear, ignorance, and monsters.
That, more than the cooling days, is what I have come to relish about Fall, that I get to step away from the light. I get to journey into darkness. I have greater opportunity to see what lurks there, and in the bumping into it, befriend it. It’s no wonder my favorite Dr. Seuss story was Pale Green Pants (see previous blog)! Once I got to know those spooky pale green pants I found I really liked them, nor was I afraid to go out at night and fetch my Grin-itch spinach or fish for Doubt-Trout on Roover River. Befriending darkness doesn’t shrink our world, but doubles it.
In the fall, the door separating darkness from light creaks open. By October’s end it stands agape. Darkness and light blend, the borderlands grown unclear. The lines between known and unknown, real and unreal, waver then blur. The veil thins, and in the thinning, in the blending of lightness and dark, we come to a crossroads. Here, at the center where are all roads merge, we encounter the mysteriumtremendum et fascinans. That which we desire and fear. In this, the thinning of the year, we are given the chance to become one with the Mystery.
Am I brave enough to take It’s hand, or will I bolt the door and turn on the lights?