Darkness, darkness, be my pillow;
take my head and let me sleep.
In the coolness of your shadow;
in the silence of your deep.
Jesse Colin Young wrote those lyrics in 1969. Wikipedia says that during the Vietnam War, the song was considered an anthem to the soldiers, for it described what they felt while in the jungles.
I propose that it now be considered an anthem for December that instructs us in surrendering to the nonnegotiable tilt of the planet. It does seem like the urge to put little lights on everything is the life thing in us, and I do find a certain cheer in seeing the displays. But what if instead of trying to resist what nature is asking us to accept, instead of seeing darkness as something to conquer, we went with seeing darkness as a pillow or a blanket?
What if we saw darkness as part of the full spectrum of life’s colors and experiences, and honored it accordingly?
What if we saw the increasing hours of darkness as an invitation to lower our voices, dim our lights, and slow our pace? To stay home and reflect on the harvest of the year past and our hopes for the year to come? And to strengthen our faith in the return of the light even in the face of clear physical evidence that everything is going the other way?
At this dark hour not only in nature but also in our country, what if we noticed that darkness has never in the history of the world increased without end, that the turning point always comes? We might double our resolve to take action for what we believe in and trust that it will eventually turn the tide. We might learn to trust in the darkness and even take comfort in it.
Darkness, darkness, be my blanket;
cover me with endless night.
Take away the pain of knowing;
fill the emptiness so bright.