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Gardening in darkness


My life is so arranged (rather, I have arranged it) that I find myself making frequent late night drives between the city and the country house. I did that last night, after seeing an exceptional play.

On the drive out I felt very much alone, intensely alone, driving through the late darkness, capsuled in my car. Not a loneliness of longing or depression or sadness, but an existential aloneness, a freedom, an ephiphany of sorts, recognition that I’ve been given a gift, the ability to be aware how tiny and insignificant and brief my life is in this dark, measureless, incomprehensible universe.

I understood that everything, my being, my life, all I do comes out of this darkness. Some of us make gardens out of darkness.

As I sit here today, looking over the green garden, I know that light is darkness and darkness is light, that I’m seeing darkness, that my eyes and brain interpret various frequencies of electromagnetic radiation as light, color, shape, my two eyes and brain allow me to think I can judge distance and spatial relationships, sensory cells create the illusion of fragrance and touch, ears sound.

But beneath this all is the cold, unknowable darkness that makes it possible for me to garden with light.

To read comments from the original posting of this article from April 2012 please visit

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