Darker & Lighter

A grey hand slaps the sky. The clouds are disturbed, scudding to corners. There is a sudden silence like the one that precedes the answer to a question that might change the course of someone’s life. And then the rain comes. Fierce, scavenging every corner of the trees and earth, plunging into crevices not even a breath could slide into.

Water is a shape shifter. It can be anything it wants. Smooth, calm, glass. Choppy, writhing, juddering mess.

Wash me away, I think.

A little leaf from the stringybark tree, pointed as a canoe gets caught in the stream running down the laneway. It falls, taken aback, trying to steer itself away from the torrent, but it is pulled without mercy through the bubbling, muddy water.

Bon voyage, little leaf. I think.

Rain like this could wash sins away. Doubts would fall prey to it. Fears too. As the rain fills every square metre of the sky it becomes all I can see. All that matters.

Give me a sign, I said today.

It is a ritual I have when days are darker than they should be. When negative feelings follow like shadows.

I work so hard on keeping my head in the right place – positive, happy me – that when the lure of that black net crosses my line of vision I want to panic. Or give up. It takes more diligence to be happy than it does to be sad. I know that for sure. No matter how high that tower of Happy Happy is constructed there is always someone, something there waiting to pull it down.

So I ask for a sign. That it’s going to pass. That I don’t have to succumb. That all the hard happy, positive work has made me stronger.

Strange thing is, I don’t know what the sign is when I ask for it. By the time I see the sign and recognise it for what it is I have almost forgotten I asked for it.

Today a butterfly came to the garden. Late afternoon. A large black and white.  I think it’s a Common Crow. Horrible name for such a beauty. Unusual for this time of year when the weather is colder too. She settled on the hot pink camellia bush. I could sense her exultation. She knew she was a bringer of joy.

An hour later the rain came. Washing all the bad feelings away that had been clinging like smoke. It wasn’t until the rain gathered in dark green pools on the grass, shape shifting under each blade that I knew I had my sign. Two in fact.

For each dark mood that comes there is a light one that follows. It seems to be the way of things.  I just need to learn to remember that. I need to remember that moments of darkness can shape shift to light just as easily as the rain. Washing gloom away.

11 thoughts on “Darker & Lighter

  1. Thanks for this beautiful line- Fierce, scavenging every corner of the trees and earth, plunging into crevices not even a breath could slide into.

    I have not written a single creative word for days (except TV scripts but they don’t count). I feel so much tension in my body, like a tightly wound spring. Maybe your lovely words will push me to a story….please…

    Selma- for everything there is a season even happiness and sadness.


    I am trying to force myself to remember it, especially when the dark days come. It’s a work in progress…

    I know how much you love writing fiction and I hope you get the time to write one of your amazing stories soon. Only one condition though – you have to let me read it!

    There is definitely a season for everything. Even for fiction and non-fiction. 😀


  3. I had a ‘dark day’ yesterday. Thanks for reminding me Sel that the light follows the darkness. I loved the butterfly story; as you know, butterflies have a special meaning for me. Thanks for this inspiring and thoughtful post. Here’s to a great day ahead!!!

    Many hugs, G 🙂


  4. We’ve over 300 days of sunshine here in the high desert. I’m the ungrateful person who wakes up, looks out of the window, and says, “oh no, it’s another bloody sunny blue sky cloudless day!”

    See how ungrateful I am!

    Reading this, I’m reminded of the rainy days in Singapore. I loved rainy days… except when I needed to get to work in the morning and the skies decided to piss. The bus ride was cold and wet. The dress and the shoes were all ruined by one morning rain. And I had to remain in that wet attire/shoes for the rest of the day in the office. Aw.


    Those days come along, don’t they? Most of the time they are manageable. We just have to remember they will pass. I love butterflies too. Magical little creatures!

    When you say high desert, where do you mean? Is it Arizona?
    I have friends who live in Singapore who complain of the rain. let’s face it, sitting in wet clothes all day is no fun!

    Thanks so much!


  6. I’m experiencing these days strung together with more frequency of late. I do the same thing, ask for a sign that everything’s going to be okay. They do show up eventually…


  7. So true that lightness follows the darkness ~ I guess the hard part is remembering that. My mantra has become, “this, too, will pass”. I was struck by the butterfly and how it was a sign. That’s what I love about being outdoors ~ these moments that happen as if it’s serendipity.


  8. EMPLOYEE 3699:
    Thanks so much, hon.

    Sometimes they take their own sweet time, I must admit. It’s hard when those days are strung together. Quite exhausting. Hope you see your sign soon.

    I often think nature exists on a slightly different plane to us – a more spiritual level. There is definitely a serendipity to butterfly sightings and bird songs. Even the bloom of a flower can take on special meaning. I also love that about the outdoors.


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