In Praise Of The Dark

stars across the night sky
Light candles, as one does, but consider this:
Over many millions of years
organisms evolved
to thrive in the dark,
eyes big and reflective,
taking in the main chance.
mysterious only to those who slept
while they flourished
under the stars and the waning moon
away from galumphing day hunters,
safe in their night.
For many thousands of years,
humans slept during the dark
and rose in the light.
And if we didn’t feel safe at night
we sat together in circles under the stars
and told stories
of god and miracles
of warriors and kings
of love and children.
and that mastodon we had for dinner.
But for the last hundred or so years,
if we were lucky,
we’ve lived in bright rooms,
safe behind doors at night,
unable to see past the streetlights to the stars.
Instead of circles we sit in bubbles
and the stories come from the outside,
sometimes helping us laugh and cry.
Sometimes provoking pain and shared resentment,
each in our own well-lit isolation.
Tonight, perhaps,
don’t be in such a rush
to set up your candles against the dark.
Turn off that backyard lamp,
so you can see the constellations and
let the night animals breathe.
Listen to the frightening ambient sounds
that don’t explain themselves to you.
Then tell your own stories to each other,
of miracles and myths and what you had for dinner.
And praise the darkness.
Praise the light.
Praise it all.
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