Tag Archives: darkness

Finding your way home again

Here is a little story inspired by blog reader Colleen who was fascinated by a recent comment about some of our inky black nights in the woods.  You can’t see your familiar hands, your feet, your journey to the mailbox. 

(Now that the moon stretches into her fat belly every night it’s like soft lamplight amplified by the gleaming of stars.  Except when it’s snowing, and the firmaments hide themselves behind clouds pregnant with heavy white maternity robes.)

When the pregnant moon births our way through the darkness

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The forest at night

This is what the forest looks like at night before your eyes adjust to the darkness

Many, many people have a fascination with the forest at night.  I have learned that at my other blog, Simply Here.  Very few people visit this blog which is mostly about painting word pictures and writing about spirituality.  It is not a conversational blog at all.

Sometimes I only write one or two blogs a month on Simply Here.  Other times, in a flurry, several blogs appear in the Mind’s eye and demand to be written.  An average of fifteen people a day stop by to read.  It’s a slow-paced blog with simple headlines like “Truth” or “Storm” or “Enough“.  (Although yesterday got wild and crazy and was about Raging.  Don’t visit yesterday’s blog unless you’re prepared.  It’s about the raging games our mind plays sometimes.  Not good polite dinner-time conversation.)

After a while you start to see murky shapes, angles, outlines of trees

Google has not discovered this little baby blog exists–except in the case of one trigger.  It is the words “Forest at night.”  Anyone who stumbles upon this blog arrives because they are fascinated by the words “Forest at night.”  I swear. 

It is probably because of the blog  Life and Death in the Forest


So last night I wondered if anyone over at Lake Superior Spirit was fascinated by the forest at night. 

First things first.  Nobody around here calls it the “forest”.  Forest seems to be an antiquated word, no longer much in use.  Maybe folks in other parts of the English-speaking world use the word “forest”.  We call it “the woods”.

The woods.  Everything wild and untamed with its seedlings and sturdy trees waving in the sky without houses and roads is called “the woods.” 

I wish it weren’t so.  I like the word “forest” much better.

There is something romantic and beautiful in the word “forest”.  Something green and medieval and eternal.  I am hoping this word refuses to get lost in its own woods.  Perhaps it will sprout anew in common usage.  We can only hope.

Branches creaking softly in the wind

Back to last night’s adventure.  Headed outside with Canon Rebel and tripod.  (Yes, tripod!  Ancient tripod from the 1960′s, but it works.)

Attach Rebel to tripod.  Set camera on various settings.  It refuses to cooperate.  It refuses to flash when I want it to flash.  “READ THE MANUAL, KATHY!” Barry says with great irritation.  Kathy refuses.  We can only hope, someday, that she gets tired of writing her stories and reads the manual.

Kathy grabs the baby Sony Cybershot, long neglected at the bottom of her purse, and wheels back outside.  YES!  The Cybershot complies.  Flash, flash, flash.  Let’s see what she’ll reveal.

At night in the forest everything sometimes seems sideways, unexpected

Morning arrives.  Download photos to discover…are you ready for this?  Nothing.  Black photos.  Emptiness.  Darkness.  Perfect pictures of the Forest at Night.

I begin tossing them in the Recycle Bin with great annoyance.  I am not in a good cheerful happy mood this morning.  However, suddenly, decide to put one of the perfectly black photos in Picasa’s software program and press the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.

And look!  These are the photos (except for the first one) that appeared perfectly blank and dark on the screen a half hour ago.

What the dark hides

It’s amazing what darkness hides–and what it reveals.

What the darkness reveals

When was the last time you walked in the forest at night?  Were you afraid or peaceful?  Did coyotes yip, or spring peepers croack, or owls hoot?  Did little mice scurry by your feet, or deer paw at the earth?

The end of a long June day…

Beside the lake

Soft, quiet, sleepy June evening.

Sitting in the lull of evening after an active day of running here, there and everywhere.  I have a funny story  to tell you, but no energy to tell it yet.

Birds chirp their night-songs as the sun contemplates its slide toward the horizon.  Here in the western Upper Peninsula near Solstice it gets dark very, very late.  Even in the forest it refuses to darken completely until almost 11 p.m.  (That’s because we’re so close to the Central Time Zone.) 

Today is June’s full moon.  Has anyone seen it?  I’m never up late enough to see the dark sky these days.  Although we will be next Wednesday night when we drive to the airport by 11:30 to pick up our son Christopher.  He’s flying in from San Diego for nine or ten days.

The Anishinabe (Ojibway) called June’s full moon The Strawberry Moon.  Last year, in the 365 day outdoor commitment, I shared the name of the Anishinabe full moon every month.  It feels good to think of the moon by its ancient name.  It also feels good to taste the sweet red strawberry, which has ripened early this summer.

If you haven’t read the guest blog professional photographer Scott Thomas asked me to write about last year’s outdoor adventures, please click here.  It was an honor to share some thoughts and photos on his site.  He helped to bring back some precious memories of that year-long experience.  (Thank you so much, Scott!  I so appreciate the opportunity…)

And that’s about it for tonight.  You know how your eyes feel all sleepy at the end of a busy day and your energy is kind of soft and low?  Time to perhaps sit a while and listen to the birds, or maybe read for a short time.  Then–off to an early bed.

Goodnight, dear reader.  Sleep tight, as my mama used to say.