Sonder 013 | Dark Soundscape

by William Brown, Arvo Part

September 22nd was a special day. It was a day of gentle breezes and cool air, bright skies and sunbeams. It was a day whose weather inspired nostalgia, a breeze that hinted at a cold future while the sun brought with it memories of a warm past. September 22nd was the Autumnal Equinox, a very special day indeed. A day of perfect balance, of equal day and night. Equal light and dark that stirred in me equal parts pain and hope. Fear of the future mixed with optimism, and fond remembrance of the past tinged with the guilt of lost innocence. I didn’t get anything conventionally worthwhile done this day, my wife and I took a walk in the breeze and then I napped in the sun. Yet I couldn’t shake the feeling of being utterly fulfilled by the day, satisfied by merely witnessing, and participating in, its passing.

The balance of September 22nd is gone now, day by day the blackened sky has encroached upon the light, driving our star more and more swiftly over the horizon. Today is December 21st, the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. The breeze has indeed turned cold, the warmth of the sun refracted by the icy clouds high above. Fear of the future has been realized in an abhorrence of the present, and fondness for the past has been embittered by longing. The days bring no fulfillment, the passage of time brings no satisfaction.

Fear of the future has been realized in an abhorrence of the present

Indeed, I hope and pray that you do not share my feelings of suffocation in the inky blackness, and yet I know that many do. As tendrils of shadow slow my steps I reach out feelers of my own, formed of thoughts, words, and letters, that I might grasp the dark’s reckoning.

What I have first stumbled upon is hope, a promise for the future. A cyclical hope in the lengthening of days sure to come after this deepest night. A worldly hope in a vaccine, a signal that a return to normalcy could be possible. Then an eternal hope in the celebration of Immanuel’s birth, a promise of love and light that will illuminate any tenebrosity. These hopes are blessings, wondrous and comforting, and yet it is not enough to conquer this present darkness. Hope must be paired with action to be victorious, idle fancies must put down roots and bear fruit on this earth.

I know this to be true and yet I do nothing, my body betraying me as both mind and globe spin like a top. And so I write this as encouragement to myself and others, I write it as a determination and as a creed:

Though I feel alone in the dark, astray in the dark, adrift in the dark, I will adorn the dark. As the stars sprinkle the galaxy, as lights ornament a tree, so too will I place beacons in every corner of the darkness. In every relationship I will illuminate the path with love and commitment, in every occupation I will brighten the shadows with dedication and care. With every note I play I will weave a constellation of beauty that burns brightly in my life and the lives of those around me. The days will no longer pass in a haze,  I will reclaim my satisfaction in them by imbuing the hours with some glance of adornment. I will combine my hope for the future with a fondness for the past, memories of former beauty that can inspire the creation of more light. As a lamp on a stand or a city on a hill, I will illuminate my own dwelling and invite others into its warmth.

Though I feel alone in the dark, astray in the dark, adrift in the dark, I will adorn the dark

 

Alas, these are lofty goals for one as weak as myself. I pray that this writing may become a match that I shelter close; that it may become a spark that I nurse with my breath until it becomes strong enough to light one candle, then another, then another; that it may grow and grow until the darkness has turned into day.