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Brightness in the Dark

By Cindy Falls, U.S. Navy Veteran

Compared with the tense events happening right now in America around the surge of awareness that Black Lives Matter (and always should have), the surge in deaths from COVID-19 (has it been going on since 2019? Mind boggling.), the surge in violence perpetrated by right wing extremists and self-proclaimed patriots, the surge in the numbers of people living in desperation and hunger and homelessness, one thing I’d be delighted to see seems insignificant to me.

Still, it’s critical to keep my dreams and hopes in front of me. If I don’t (as has too often been the case the past few years), well, how can I know where to go from here, and why would I want to move forward? One of those things I’d love to see, that would stun and delight me, is not a surge at all. It is flowing, and quiet, and lovely.

Auroras look beautiful and wondrous in the pictures I’ve seen of them. Colors dancing and waving across the night sky are fascinating to me. I love color, and I’m especially fond of colors against a black or dark background. A lot of my early childhood memories are absent, but I do remember one of the few with my mother in which I saw the sun travel low from one edge of the horizon to the other. I suspect I was in Alaska. Maybe I saw the Northern Lights then too, but I have no memory of ever seeing them. I just have this love of bright colors on a dark background. To me, colors feel alive, like I can almost taste them and sometimes I feel like I can hear them. To me, colors have shape.

The Aurora Borealis is a good metaphor for me, now that I consider. Brightness in the dark. Ma’am, Step Away From The Cliche! I believe that someday I will see the Northern Lights. I guess there are Southern Lights too, down under, but I’m not going anywhere near Australia until my self-exiled brother leaves it. More darkness that way… back to the light! I’m closer than I’ve ever been, or remember being, anyway, to seeing the phenomenon with my own eyes. Living this far north makes it a distinct possibility. I can wait for the pandemic to pass. After that, I’ll make plans. I’m looking forward to seeing them.


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