darkness to light

I made my coffee early this morning. I updated my “home cleaning chores” calendar for April. I successfully got my son out to the bus stop before the bus engine sounds and yellow and red lights crested over the hill. 

My coffee is an hour old, still sitting where it was brewed. My bathrobe, which I exchanged for my winter coat to go out to the bus is now back on. The thrill of cool air through my pajama bottoms on my commando unders as we crossed the street is now a fading memory.

I joked with my friend this morning. She sent a Snapchat saying something like “I’ve made an adult decision. Can I go him now?” “Of course you can”, my response “You only have to make one adult decision per day. You’re totally done.” 

Hell, if that’s the case I’ve been done for 2 hours.

I am in love with Garrison Keeler. Inasmuch as a 30 something year old woman can love a gentle, familiar, dependable radio voice. I groan when I realize it’s 9:25 am or something of the sort. It means I’ve missed his prompt Writer’s Alamnac at 9:01am. This morning I have already read it. It is worth it. But still-butterflies stir as I check the clock: 8:59. I am ready.

You can listen here.

On Darwin: “One of the most memorable moments of the stop came when he came across a parasitic wasp laying eggs inside a live caterpillar, to be eaten alive by the grubs after hatching….he wrote to fellow naturalist Asa Gray: “There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the [parasitic wasp] with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars.”

I don’t know if Mr. Keeler, or whoever writes The Writers Almanac did this on purpose or if it’s just happy chance but the poem that follows is this:

Hope by Lisel Mueller

It hovers in dark corners before the lights are turned on,

it shakes sleep from its eyes and drops from mushroom gills,

it explodes in the starry heads of dandelions turned sages,

 it sticks to the wings of green angels that sail from the tops of maples.

It sprouts in each occluded eye of the many-eyed potato,

it lives in each earthworm segment surviving cruelty,

it is the motion that runs from the eyes to the tail of a dog,

it is the mouth that inflates the lungs of the child that has just been born.

It is the singular gift

we cannot destroy in ourselves,

the argument that refutes death,

the genius that invents the future,

all we know of God.

It is the serum which makes us swear not to betray one another;

it is in this poem, trying to speak.


I envision my head, a dandelion with its potential to “turn sage” and explode sending seeds to the wind. Or the feeling in the leaves at the highest point of a tree waving and warm in the sunlight.

It just doesn’t fit.

Today I am the dark corner, but now, am reminded that there is a light in there.  Crouching inside my soul, inside that dark corner, is a light. It is fuel. I can feed it. Its serum can flow through me, fill me with the warmth of the sunlit leaves and remind me that the work I do each day is not menial tasks but spreading seeds of maternal love, wifely duty and maybe, if I’m lucky, bits of me so that I may be surrounded by the beauty that my daughter sees as she cups my face in her hands and says “I love you”. 

That is her gift. She sees through people to their inner beauty – even when they really are ugly. More on her another time. For now I hold on to these words, these feelings and leave you with my most favorite picture.


2 thoughts on “darkness to light

  1. I guess the light and darkness are both there for a reason because you can’t have one without the other, we need the darkness to then see the light and respect and acknowledge it more. Kind of like when they say we need the bad times to enjoy the good times


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