Navigating the Dark

You wake. It’s dark, but you know you’re in an unfamiliar room.

Was I asleep?

You pat your hands on the bed covers. They’re hard, heavy. Like your grandmother’s old quilts, not the down comforter cloud you favor.

It’s so dark.

Your eyes don’t adjust and no shapes or forms emerge.

Is there a lamp?

You lean to one side, but the bed goes on and on, beyond your reach.

You lean to the other. Quilt and mattress for miles.

You crawl towards the foot and reach. Bed. More bed.

Then back to the pillows.

Weren’t there pillows?

Your motions become frantic as you search the darkness for your pillow. When you pause, panting now, you’re not sure which way you’re facing. Where is the header? The footer? The sides?

You always preferred the left side of the bed, but you gave it up because he did too.

Where is he?

You sit up, call his name in the dark. Your voice falls like a thud, muffled in the darkness of quilt and endless bed. No echo. No resonance. No one else.

You fumble for something to throw, to test the space. Your fingers find nothing, nothing but the heavy cover you can’t collect because it stretches endlessly. Heavy.

You’re not made for this darkness. Yet you know you must adapt, even if only to find the light.

You collapse against the dark firm mattress and pull the quilt to your quivering chin. Tears won’t help. You wipe the moisture from your face with the edge of the quilt.

The edge!

Head, foot, sides! This is one edge!

You sit up and tug on the edge, heavy, resistant. You tug from the left, then the right. Equally stubborn. But you’re holding the edge, an edge that might lead to a corner, another edge.

You stand, wobbling on the mattress, but the heaviness of the quilt brings you to your knees.

I’ll crawl along the edge.

Which way? You panic a moment.

I prefer the left side.

Then you begin. A crawling journey, your right hand sliding along the edge of the quilt, in search for another edge. Maybe you’ll bump into a lamp, fall off the dark bed. Into the light. You push your knees through the dark toward something more. Meaning? Answers that are neither promised or predictable?

Nothing is certain. But moving through stills your quivering chin and quiets the air that pumps through your lungs.

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2021

The Longest Night

Tonight is the longest night of the year and the moon is just about full, almost super.

Professional photographers have been known to share and exchange stories of the extreme efforts they went through in order to get the shot. Awkward positions, uncomfortable weather or surroundings, painstakingly long waits. I’m not a professional photographer. In fact, I’m still a kindergartener photographer and will probably only graduate to 1st grade before I die. Still, I have some images to share, not because they’re great and not even because of the “extreme” measures I went through to take the shot(s). But to breathe out a little.Longest night

What’s my story on the longest night?

Barbed wire, ant beds, eye-high grasses, briar patches, highways, and muddy ditches. There was daylight when I climbed over the barbed wire fence, but I circled back and crossed the ditch towards home in darkness. I could have fallen face-first navigating those briar patches. Or slipped on the steep ditch into the mud. Or worse, tripped into the highway just as a giant diesel truck came barreling down the hill. I won’t take any photos of my ankles that bravely stripped through the briars, but suffice it to say, I survived my obstacles and came out on the other side with a couple of photos of the cold moon of the longest night.

I haven’t shared any thoughts on my blog lately, hence the need to exhale a bit. I process what I’m thinking and feeling through writing, but the emotional barometer has been high, so I’ve let the pen rest and allowed my thoughts to steep.

I will endure whatever awkward position, discomfort, or stay I must to wrap my head and words around the thoughts and emotions that have tied me up. But tonight, there are moon shadows and meteor showers. It’s cold out and hard to dance in the moonlight for long or sit and stare at the stars more than ten or fifteen minutes, but the chill on my cheeks feels fine.

My moon shadow casts long and clean, and I look forward to the arc of the sun climbing higher and longer through the days. I look forward to the light.Longest night

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2018