Saturday, November 8, 2014

Night

Night. A time of darkness and shadows, where stars shine and the moonlight is equal in quantity to the shadows. Or so it used to be... Now, the streets are filled with bright yellow glare, the sky is clouded over with yellow, and the moon and stars are nearly invisible. The shadows are hidden, and true darkness is obsolete. And yet, amidst all this false light, humans are more afraid than ever than the night. More to the point, people are terrified of the dark. How can they be afraid of something they don't even know, I wonder? They're afraid of the unknown, maybe. Or maybe they're afraid that something might exist that's even more beautiful, more mysterious, more full of possibility, wonder, and quiet wisdom than their precious sun, their precious light. People want to know everything, to be in control of everything.  They know the sunlight, and they think that by making the darkness into the light, they will have control over the night as well. They are afraid that there might be something in the world more powerful than them, and unknown to them. Things with power, that humans can't eliminate, and that aren't "helpful" or "necessary" to their lives, are scary. If something is scary by being itself, it must be evil. Therefore, people use light as a good thing, and darkness as an analogy for evil. Even in the Bible, a book meant to be God's word, light is portrayed as good, in many cases, because that book was written by the human hand. But some know better. They remember that there are important happenings and encounters with God that happen at night or in the dark- the Resurrection, for example. Those who have experienced even a fraction of true dark know that darkness is much more than evil. Nighttime takes you where it wants to go. It balances light and dark, and opens up new worlds to explore. It's calm and quiet, except for nature's sounds. Differences, and prejudices, based on color or height melt away in the darkness. People are more open to one another, and more willing to trust one another. Darkness allows room for thought and imagination to grow. It strengthens eyesight, and changes perspective. It hides the prey and the predator, and brings life to the nocturnal. In the path of life, there are times that are good and times that are bad, but why should these be symbolized by light as the better places and dark as the troubled times? Doesn't the sun burn when exposed to it for too long, and doesn't it blind when one looks at it? Yes, God may be your sunscreen, but that sounds like protection from harm to me. On the other hand, shadow produces relief from the heat, and night gives time to think, and to grow, and to be happy in the silence. Some may argue about seeing the path ahead and needing to know where you're going. I say, if you know what's around that next curve, you're pretty darn lucky. The path of life is twisting and turning anyway. Besides, why do you think you need to see ahead? You may want to be prepared for any obstacles, but isn't it good to test how well you think on your feet? Life is about becoming the best person you can be and making other people's lives better by helping them become better people. Therefore, how are you going to improve yourself if you can prepare for everything? Besides, this is God's world. We don't need to control everything about our lives. Also, if we can't see the path, then maybe we'll stop assessing it by sight alone. There are many things to be learned about our surroundings by what we smell, hear, feel, and even taste on the wind.

Also consider that, in many legends and stories, Fair Folk dance at night and potions need moonlight to be activated. The true night that was seen in those days was a very important, magical time. There are some opportunities to see this for yourself today, fortunately, even if the stars aren't quite as clear as they once were. Over the summer, I've had two such instances, out in the woods on a moonlit canoe ride. It was the most amazing thing I've ever experienced, and I will treasure those memories forever. The moon was shining, the only light provided, and it was  enough light to see by. Glinting off the lake, with the stars in view, it was quite a magical sight! That magic, that beauty, was crystal clear and perfect. But again, it was not dark. I'm almost sorry that the moon was out, because I've never been fortunate enough to know true darkness. I want to have that experience, even if it scares me. The only way I can get over my fears is to face them or understand them. Besides, in the darkness, I have no distractions, which means a good opportunity to find out about myself. It's not like I'm ever alone, because God is with me and there are millions of bacteria in my body and single- celled organisms and dust mites in the air. If that isn't enough, I can always call on my imaginary StarClan friends and they will be with me, too. And even if my most imminent fears are realized, maybe it takes being sent back in time by a weeping angel to find myself. It's odd, because I know that the teenage years are the time to struggle with "who am I?," but I think that, at 14, I already know more than I ever have about myself, and although the knowledge is never complete, I feel like I know as much about me as any adult knows about themselves. The best way to learn more is by removing the distractions and charging into the unknown. The best way to do this is in the dark. Besides, darkness is essential for your health. Not only is it necessary for sleep, but it also helps with stress levels and bodily healing. I learned this through Barbara Brown Taylor's book "Learning to Walk in the Dark," which is a book that I must recommend for everyone who has any thoughts on darkness whatsoever- in other words, anyone at all. It's a great book, and I'm glad that I have the opportunity to read it. I think that everyone could benefit from the wisdom found within. I haven't finished it yet, but it's amazing.

In short, night is beautiful but we're destroying it. Darkness is no more malevolent than light, and light holds just as much danger as darkness. The best way to find oneself is in the helpful, healing dark, even though sunlight, too, is necessary for our world and our health. And most important of all, fear of the unknown is only an excuse to avoid the unknown. Face your fears, and strive to understand them. Understanding is the key to everything. Oh, and read that book!

To the Princess...

Dear Princess Luna,
Never give up. You may be overshadowed, but there is just as much beauty in the darkness as in the light. Your sister shines with a brilliant and golden light, and that is a fact. But you embody the wise, gentle, mysterious, humble beauty of the darkness. Your night represents equality, where the waxing and waning of the moon creates a balance of the velvet darkness and the silvered moonlight. Do not strive to resemble your queenly sister, but instead counter her majesty with your own humility and quiet, knowing mystery. Counterbalance Celestia, and you will, together, make the best government Equestria could wish for. Be yourself, Luna. Who you are, deep inside, is who you should strive to be on the outside. We love you, Princess. You are more than what you know yourself to be. And you are just what Equestria needs, what it has needed for a thousand years. Embrace your darkness, your highness. It is the best, most beautiful thing about you. And that's saying something. 

Love,
Briarpelt