Mysteries of the Lesser Light

Dim, grey light filters through the trees. The dimness diminishes with each passing minute, replaced by a slightly brighter sky behind the branches. The distant glow above the horizon grows in intensity, offsetting the loss of darkness with a deepening supply of luminescence. Soon, darkness will be hidden, visible only under the leaves and forest debris on the ground. Pine and oak trees will continue to battle with the sky, shading the ground beneath from the sun’s pure white light. But darkness will lose the battle, as it does every day. Will darkness ever prevail? Will the sun ever abandon its effort to bathe the world in light? Deep grey and dark green colors still mix with the blackness of night as dawn claws its way out of the forest. But the forest will remain at the edge of darkness for as long as dense stands of oak and pine stay close to one another, holding development at bay for another little while. Eventually, though, the trees and underbrush will be dispatched to a place where only memory is permitted to thrive.

The image here is only an imaginary expression of something that does not exist. It is your eyes’ deceit; trickery that lures your mind into believing light and darkness have a place on the screen in front of you. You know better. The image burned into your brain is a figment of your imagination; a relic of a time when you had the eyes of an eagle and the resolve of a martyr. Today, of course, you sit in front of a screen, watching evidence of your gullibility put on display for all the world to see. Grey and dim, indeed. Shades of deep, dark green. Darkness giving way to light. It’s all a deception of the highest order. But, still, you stare into the abyss and watch flames consume a lost cargo ship as the water surrounding it boils and thrashes and screams for release.


A final opportunity delivered to a desperate man standing on the raised railing of a cargo ship under assault by gale force winds and waves as tall as ten story buildings. Perhaps he jumped. Maybe he was pushed. Or, quite possibly, the sea wrapped its watery fingers around him and pulled him from the railing and toward the bottom of an impossibly deep ocean. No one else will ever know, for he may have been alone—or, at least, by himself—on that massive sea-going vessel. The ship subsequently drifted for weeks on calm waters. Finally, though, the corrosive air and water consumed the framework upon which safety had been built and then torn asunder. The ship sank beneath the mysterious waters of an endless body of water, where the boat’s secrets will remain locked in a vault until the vault and its contents are consumed by time.  The desperate man will then be gone forever, as will all evidence of him and the life he lived. Because when time and water erase memories, nothing remains; not even history.


I successfully returned to bed at 3, after briefly considering abandoning it at that ungodly hour. Instead, though, I went back to sleep and slept until 5:30. Time moves far too fast in the early morning hours. It races by, as if driven by a frenzied witch running late for an appointment with infinity. A witch, incidentally, need not wear a pointy black hat; she can wear a stylish orange fedora to complement the warlock’s beige pork pie hat. His hat is woven from the dried skin of the enemy; “the enemy” is a catch-all term for everyone else who is not “us.” The warlock employs an army of milliners who craft pork pie hats, as well as stovepipe hats, the kind Abraham Lincoln wore. Lincoln was the only person I know of who wore tall, stovepipe hats; the presidential dress-code never caught on with the riff-raff among us. We always chose fedoras or newsboy caps. As well we should.


And the morning continues to unfold. I will watch it. And I will take  my car in for an oil change and tire rotation, preparation for a long, long, long road trip. Now, in the interim, I will explore answers to the mysteries of the lesser light.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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