There are moments, past the dark night, beyond the sound of the neighbor’s dog, away from the calm sway of trees in the wind, when I fear the dark may win. The darkness presses down on me. A body should not know the how and what of its demise. The intolerable cruelty of my predicament works on my mind.
The night-fear that visits me is Death itself. It lays like a lover, stretches familiarly, emptying my body of warmth until I am nothing. My body, my arms, my legs, ache from being drawn close in, a vain attempt to warm. I can smell the cold, future, dirt.
I realize now, Death is not leaving. Life and Death are in me. I am meeting them both, anew. The one has more meaning because the other is more present. If I am to embrace Life, I must also embrace Death. Being and non-being, is and is-not, thingness and nothingness, two sides of the same coin. To have one side of the coin is to have the other.
If I face Death, if I embrace it, I will let go of fear. It is the fear of Death that comes during the darkness. It is fear of Death which brings the rotting earth smell. It is holding on so tightly to Life that brings the ache to my body. If I let go, if I embrace both Death and Life, there is no more fear, no fear of loss, no fear of future. To let go of Life is to be free, is to set your life free. To acknowledge Death is to make peace with it.
To run, to deny, to cling tightly, is the way of death. It is to die, slowly, deliberately, day by day. It is to not see and not hear and not feel. I must unclench my fists, move and stretch and open up to the now, to Life and Death, familiar and new.
There is nothing to fear in the dark now.