By Donald Beriev
A thing few people, well actually no people, know about me is my intense love of darkness. Darkness and the night. Black forests and black nights.
Darkness speaks to me. It resonates with my soul. Does this statement scare you? Well, it shouldn’t. Not if you understand the kind of darkness I am referring to.
I love living darkness. Clean, pure, Godly, alive darkness. The kind that exists deep in the winter. The quiet, meditative kind. Darkness that opens it arms to you and welcomes you home.
I sometimes dream of the perfect place. It is winter. It is the middle of the night. There is a forest. There are scattered clearings and the snow lies deep and heavy upon them. A sliver of bright moonlight provides dim illumination. A man lies still on the edge of a clearing, watching and waiting. He is bundled up against the cold and half buried in the snow. Waiting. A wild animal appears – you choose the kind. Another and another appear. They hesitate, sniffing the air as if disturbed. Gathering their courage, they move forward into the clearing. The man leans forward eagerly. The animals struggle in the deep snow, but are determined to get to their mysterious destination. The man remains motionless, entirely absorbed by the scene. The animals make the far edge and blend into the blackness there. They disappear. The man waits. Then slowly rises up and shakes off the snow. He trudges forward into the clearing. He pauses, bends down and touches the tracks the animals left behind. He rises up, and gazes raptly at the moon for a time. He then looks all around him at the dimly lit and magical forest, wondering at what other mysteries it holds. He turns, and slowly makes his way back the way he came. He enters the dark woods and disappears.
Or of another place. A woman creeps slowly through a warm, dark, wet forest. There is almost no light, but she knows the trail by heart. Half by touch and half by sight, she cautiously makes her way towards her destination. There is fear. She knows she is not alone in these woods. But the fear is muted by the peace of the inevitable. If something bad happens, it happens. If it does not, it does not. Usually it does not. That is the way of things here, and not to be feared. At least not much. The smells of the damp, living forest are delightful. The darkness surrounds her like a warm blanket. Despite her beating heart, she smiles for joy of the experience of being alive, in this place. She continues on her way and gradually disappears into the night.
Darkness. Darkness to fill your heart with joy. Darkness that fills your mind with wonder. Darkness that leaves so much hidden. Darkness that gives you so much room to invent what it is that may be hidden. Darkness that fuels the imagination and creates worlds.
Donald Beriev is finishing school in Detroit, Michican and hopes to one day return to the northern wilderness he came from. He is an avid runner and soccer player and spends his spare time inventing reasons to not finish his to-do list.