‘It’s oh so quiet. It’s oh so still. You’re all alone. And so peaceful until…’ Bjork
When the lights go out, when you find yourself in the dark, the quiet can get …pretty noisy. Like a dream, all the garbage of the day, all the things you pushed aside or ran away from can suddenly appear out of no where; and depending on what your day has been like, this supposed time for peace can get pretty ugly.
…Unless you say ‘hello’ as the genius that is Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen tell us to do in their new children’s book, ‘The Dark’.
This isn’t a new idea of course, fictional characters have been doing this for thousands of years. In Greek mythology Orpheus descended into the dark of the underworld to say hello. Pinocchio too symbolically traveled into the belly of the whale for a yarn and Luke Skywalker went into a cave to confront his ‘dark side’ in ‘Star Wars’. Even Max (from Maurice Sendak’s ‘Where the wild things are’) traveled far away from the safety of his room, out into the dark of night, to get angry on an island with monsters.
All these stories are mirroring our own, very real, very human confrontations with the dark; and these fears are not exclusive to those children have when the lights get turned off. As adults our minds still play tricks on us. The ghosts and monsters of our daily wanderings may have taken on different shapes and sizes but even now, when we are at an age when we control the light switch, we still give the dark so much weight and power.
All four of the characters I mentioned above came back though and here is where we find that the dark can teach us something, can even shed some light.
The character of Lazlo in Snicket and Klassen’s book, asks questions of the dark.
Perhaps tonight I will too.
I wonder what I’ll return with?
Wonder.Meant …that I was not afraid.