Reflections

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

Eleanor Deckert

I am not exactly a hoarder, but I do keep a lot of things "just in case."


I have a woodshed crammed to the roof, a root cellar with baskets and boxes and bags and jars of summer's bounty.

I know it's early. But ya gotta be ready. There is no "just in case." You know it's coming. But you don't know when.

I am ready!

I also have a lot of supplies indoors too "just in case."

I have six tubs of fabric, five drawers of yarn and embroidery floss, four good books beside my bed, three boxes of photos to go through, two quilts to finish, and one of the empty bedrooms is my craft supply room with shelves of coloured paper, pine cones, driftwood, stickers, fancy scissors, glitter, paint, chalk, broken crayons, and pastels.

I am ready!

My "just in case" storage is for the thing I know is coming, but I don't know when.

Darkness. I know it's early. But I gotta be ready.

It starts mid-October, when there is the anniversary of a death in the family. Next is Halloween with ghosts and other dark images of death and the grave. All Saints Day and All Souls Day are also solemn reminders. Next comes Remembrance Day and the massive loss of life through war.

Meanwhile the ratio of sunshine and nighttime is slowly shifting. Then the time change comes and darkness cuts the days short.

Gloomy music pops into my head… "Hello, Darkness my old friend, I've come to talk with you again." Thanks to Simon and Garfunkel, a loop of this song stays around for days and nights.

I combat the gloom with this favourite quote: “Turn your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.” Helen Keller

For years I didn't know what it was. I tried to block the downward spiral with the art supplies, music, fitness, and talking on the telephone with friends.

From early November almost to Valentine's Day, I made Christmas last. I plugged in the bright lights, made my own colourful cards, turned up the cheerful music and started yummy baking.

Sometimes volunteer projects filled the time and gathering with friends to prepare an event shushed the gloom.

Unexpectedly, the Darkness would dominate. I would be in bed, too heavy to stand up, unable to see anything positive to engage in.

Now I know about SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Yes, all of those strategies I have previously used are still part of my wintertime commitment to my own health. There have been times when medication has been a wise choice. I also learned about Vitamin D.

For the past eight winters, a healthy prayer life has made the difference. I even checked with the pharmacist. Yes, the brain makes serotonin when the mind engages in a healthy prayer life. The prayers overflow with images of brightness and my heart opens to receive these beams.

Scripture quotations refer to light. They open my heart, raise my spirits, allow brightness into my mind and help resist the darkness… “Your light will come... the Lord will dawn on you in radiant beauty…” “O Rising Sun that never sets come and shine on those who dwell in darkness...”

Hello, Darkness, my old friend. Not!

You might come to talk to me again, but I am no longer listening to you, endlessly pulling me down.

I am ready! I have a new playlist.