Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Maybe we ...have the same single and fundamental task: to make peace with the roads we have travelled, as straight or winding as they have been, and to trust that we are up to the task of what lies ahead, whatever it may be.

E.L. Doctorow’s quote comes to mind: “You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” Maybe now my job is to stop squinting past the headlights. It’s only causing me panic that I can’t see, hurting my eyes, and taking my attention away from what is right in front of me.

Lindsey Mead, A Design So Vast

Every once in a while, life throws me a spark, a connection. And every once in awhile, I'm aware enough to heed the light and follow it. I don't know what cosmic force led me to Lindsey and her beautiful blog, A Design So Vast, but now I will publicly thank that cosmic force for I am so very grateful. Her beautiful prose both inspires and comforts. I often find myself holding my breath as I read a string of words she's artfully woven together--about her journey to now, her experiences as a woman, as a mother. A reverential place of comfort and kindred connection, her blog is one of my must reads. She will humbly deflect this compliment, but, let me just say, that, in twenty years, when I'm being interviewed (yes, after I've written all my best-selling memoirs and novels) about which writers informed and influenced me, her name will be on my list.

We began our friendship through our blogs and emails. And now, Lindsey is an in-the-flesh friend whom I adore. As I've told her, I first fell in love with her writing, and then I fell head-over-heels for her. Today I'm featuring Lindsey as my first-ever guest blogger. (And the crowd goes wild....)

The Dark Blooms and Sings
Lindsey Mead

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light. To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, and is travelled by dark feet and dark wings.

- Wendell Berry

These Wendell Berry lines have been banging around in my head for a few days. (fighting – or harmonizing – with Annie Lennox and the omnipresent Willy W, of course). I so agree with what he implies, with the notion that to really know the dark we have to surrender to it. We have to let our eyes adjust, which means we must go in without any external light. And that, in that darkness, there is a beauty that we never imagined.

Berry’s words make me think, first of all, about internal darkness. Of what it takes for us to really know the darkness there, to gaze into the ragged hole that exists in the center of all of our souls, to push on the bruise, to feel the wound. Perhaps ironically, for me, I have often described the feeling of that intense darkness as staring into the sun. It has been the focus of the last months of my life, for sure: relenting in my frantic white-knuckled attempts to control, accepting the way it is and in so doing releasing my desperate focus on the way I wanted it to be.

It has only been when I have really let myself lean into that darkness, accept that my deepest wound is the profound sadness of impermanence, that I’ve started seeing the gifts that are there. As I sink into the way my life actually is, everyday I find unexpected gems buried in the mundane. Sure, I also cry a lot more. Every single day I face the truth that this is the last day that my baby will be 5, the last time I’ll have a Beginner, thelast, the last, the last. I grieve and mourn constantly, far more than I imagined possible.

But there’s also beauty here. Surprising, staggering, serendipitous beauty. Divinity buried in the drudgery. Dark feet and dark wings.


Thank you, dear friend, for honoring me with your words today.


Lindsey said...

Oh it is such an honor to see my words here!!! Thank you, dear friend. And for your exceptionally generous introduction, which I do not deserve but still am hugely touched to read. Thank you, thank you. xox

ayala said...

What a beautiful introduction and a beautiful post. Lindsey, you write with grace and honesty always. Your friendship is a blessing.

christa said...

Thanks to you both, ladies.

The Wendell Berry quote is one of my favorites. You both help all of us to look at the dark and the light, and that is an ongoing gift.

And Denise, you are right - Miss Lindsey is so very good at the deflecting thing!

Amanda said...

Simply lovely.

Anonymous said...

What a nice surprise to come and see two of my favourite ladies in one place.

There are many things I've learned since my diagnosis with depression, but none is more accute than recognizing that from the darkness can come the most incredible gifts.

Well articulated Lindsey. Hugs to you both.


Heather of the EO said...

xo to you both.

These blogging friendships...they are so real-so kindred-it's like finding a treasure in a needle in a haystack kind of way. If that makes any sense at all.

Lovely post, lovely both of yous :)

Dana Udall-Weiner said...

You are both wise and beautiful, and reading your words gives me much comfort.

Cathy said...

Lindsey - you are definitely on my "must read" blog roll as well. I think I found my way here from you! Now I have two must reads!