advent apertures 2019: day 11

If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.


from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

William Blake


Just one of the effects of living with chronic clinical depression is that I have become intimately acquainted with rhythms of retreating, with hiding, with waiting.  I can go for days where all I seem to see are shadows projected on the walls of the cave of my mind. My consciousness becomes limited to black and white seeing; my options seem to become starkly either/or (with both choices seeming to be potentially destructive, and therefore not choices at all). 

In these seasons all I can do is hang on, exhausted; my waiting for something to shift renders me passive, weak and mostly unbelieving.

And yet … I wait because I know somewhere in me, somehow, my God is a both/and kind of God.

I wait because I know somewhere in me, somehow, that my darkness is not dark to God.


We are not great connoisseur of the two twilights.  We miss the dawning, excusably enough, by sleeping through it, and are as much strangers to the shadowless welling-up of day as to the hesitant return of consciousness in our slowly waking selves.  But our obliviousness to evening twilight is less understandable.  Why do we almost daily ignore a spectacle (and I do not mean sunset but rather the hour, more or less, afterward) that has a thousand tonalities, that alters and extends reality, that offers, more beautifully than anything man-made, a visual metaphor of peace?  To say that it catches us at busy or tired moments won’t do; for in temperate latitudes varies by hours from solstice to solstice.  Instead I suspect we shun evening twilight because it offers two things which, as insecurely rational beings, we would rather not appreciate; the vision of irrevocable cosmic change (indeed change into darkness), and a sense of deep ambiguity – of objects seeming to be more, less or other than we think them to be.  We are noontime and midnight people, and such devoted camp-followers of certainty that we cannot endure seeing it mocked and undermined by nature.  There is a brief period of twilight of which I am especially fond, little more than a moment, when I see what seems to be colour without light, followed by another brief period of light without colour.  The earlier period, like a dawn of night, calls up such sights as at all other times are hidden, wistful half-formless presences neither of the day nor night, that draw up with them similar presences in the mind.

Robert Grudin

hidden (bl)hidden. iPhone image.

Published by Kate Kennington Steer

writer, photographer and visual artist

2 thoughts on “advent apertures 2019: day 11

  1. Each day is a gem. This diamond spoke deeply because of my own experience with depression, a life-long journey of balance.


    1. Abigail thank you so much for all your encouragement. I apologise for not replying to all of your comments but I have greatly appreciated them. I am sad you too have experience of depression, so I am especially glad the Spirit spoke to you through this combination of word and image. You will be in my prayers. All blessings on you this night.


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