Embracing Darkness and Light

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Gray wool skies. Sleet. Wind. A few shriveled leaves clinging sadly to craggy branches.

Misunderstandings. Looming deadlines. Absences. An unexpected call late in the day.

Both of these lists are things that can be considered the “cold and dark” of life. These are things that can make us feel depressed, oppressed, sad or even angry. Week 11 of Dear Teachers starts with this quote from Francis Bacon:

“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.”

Take a look at Marlene’s photo. It’s a prime example of this. The sun creates gorgeous shadows. The shadows give the light its richness. Deepest dark defines both the foreground and the horizon, alternating with warm sky and its reflection. The water’s calm depth is what allows the light to sparkle on its surface through the shimmering cattail shadows.

It’s been a year since I began the journey of writing Dear Teachers. It was a dark time for me mentally and physically but the writing process was a light. I had time to ponder my experiences and begin exploring the world a bit more. I found time and inspiration to dream. I can see Bacon’s truth now.


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Brian Crosby is someone I’ve met this year. On his Twitter account, he describes himself as (among other things) a principal, biology teacher, gardener and observer of beauty & detail. He posts both amazing floral photography and stories of meaningful educational experiences in his students lives on some tough subjects, including HIV/AIDS. Here’s a rose he posted on Remembrance Day, our Veteran’s Day. A gift for those he’s shared beauty with this year, he stated. The season is ending but this rose struggles on, despite cold and aphids. Darknesses and lights together.

What do you consider are your darknesses? What do you feel are your lights? What beauties might they both be offering you? If you embrace them both, what might they do to strengthen you?

Best wishes to you as you step into another week!

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