Bricolage exploring the radiance of darkness by artist Kymberlee della Luce
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the radiance of darkness

Bricolage has been coming back to me as part of my creative process again. I randomly chose the word “radiance” and began choosing objects that brought forth what that word meant for me. Perhaps it’s because the nights are getting longer or perhaps it was because I had just viewed the painting below at the Flesh and Blood exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum but either way, I began collecting mostly dark objects. As I did this, I realized that I am currently (maybe have always been) drawn to the radiance of darkness. The first thing I noticed when I saw this painting was those sleeves. Look at them! They remind me of the dark beauty of crow feathers. So lux.

the radiance of darkness with a self-portrait by Francesco Salviati c 1545
Francesco Salviati c 1545

I’ve been In the book “Twenty Four Conversations with Borges Including a Selection of Poems I found this poem titled “Poem Written in a Copy of Beowulf”. It moved me the way watching a storm moves me and evokes that feeling of the radiance of darkness that, while ineffable, is something we know when we feel it:

At times I ask myself what are the reasons,
During my wandering night, that now impel
Me to begin (expecting no miracle
Of perfection) to study the tongue of the harsh Saxons.
Exhausted by the years my memory
Allows the futilely repeated words
To slip away, the way my life first girds
And then ungirds its tired history.
I tell myself it must be that the soul,
In a sufficient and a secret way,
Knows it is immortal, that its vast, grave
Circle takes in and can accomplish all.
Beyond this longing and beyond this verse,
Waiting for me, inexhaustible: the universe.

That just pulls me down into my rootedness. In the dark beauty of life. Have you been experiencing the stars this autumn? The way the Jupiter in Venus was all snuggled up to the moon for a bit? I have taken to sitting in my home alone in the dark and just watching the changing night sky. Wishing I could capture its beauty to share but knowing I can’t. That’s what I’ve come to realize about the radiance of darkness–it’s personal. Life grief. Like the moments when we first wake up in the morning and realize we’re still alive. Sublime.

Someone recently asked me what my name meant. I told them it means “of the Light”. They said, “That’s about right. You lead people into the light.” I said, “Well, that may be true but I do it through illuminating the shadows.

I’ve finally learned to be okay with that. It’s not always comfortable but it’s necessary. Too much light obliterates detail. Blinds us. We can’t really afford to be blinded at this time in our history. We also can’t afford to wallow in the dark, hurting ourselves and others.

May the radiance of darkness lead the way.

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