Talking Toward the Darkness

An amber growler set in a bank of snow

shows muted reflections of shifting light

while two gray-bearded pastors welcome the night

from the concrete apron of the garage

on the first evening above freezing in three weeks

with a perfect half-moon shining through birch branches.

Flames from a small bed of blazing woodshop scraps

curl around the hand-split edges of deadstand maple,

sending a welcome wafting of warmth and light

toward chairs set close to a blackened firepan.

It is the first we’ve seen of each other in a month

even though we live just five minutes apart.

We speak of other friends,

a brother’s cancer,

the advanced cirrhosis of a family member,

the deadly disease of conspiracy theories,

of vaccinations and school operations,

church and change and scripture

and the names of things that passed long ago

yet still flicker in the recollection of fire and night.

Flame and embers play across our glasses

while we sip mugs of Belgian ale.

Several hundred feet below the summit of this gentle hill,

tractor trailer rigs headed west on Thirty-Six

push their sounds through the shadows of the cedars,

a deep-throated rumble pressing their own shroud of light

into the night that moves around them.

That is not completely unlike

sitting around a winter’s fire

and speaking of things that matter,

even if the speaking changes none of those things.

We do not talk in order to bring an end to night

but rather to share and shine a warming glow

so that we may know

we do not walk alone

toward this passing darkness.

H. Arnett


About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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