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So much depends upon what kind of darkness is being discussed. At home I use night lights, placed strategically to prevent falling in the darkness. Here, in the forest, I use candles while my husband has a veritable cornucopia in both places of batteries, all sizes carefully labeled and stored in a carrying case I probably gave him as a joke, not knowing how serious his battery obsession would become. He also possesses an impressive assortment of flashlights, camping lanterns, and light emitting devices he finds in surplus catalogs which he orders when they're on sale.

We all deal with darkness in our own way, sometimes getting by with insufficient light because we can't imagine a simple change of batteries will make all the difference. I know this from experience. Real darkness you can hold in your hands and the other darkness that seeps into your body and mind. It is the times when no matter how much light you gather or create, that the true test happens. On a day when even if the sun is shining at noon, in all its celestial glory and all you see, feel, and breathe is darkness, this is the time I'm talking about.

What rope do you hold onto? What person or book do you turn to ? Where do you find strength and is it enough? Does music pull you through, or a simple walk down a leaf strewn path? My darkest times have always been lightened by other people, sometimes family, sometimes friends, sometimes strangers. Other things, like changing the metaphorical batteries are temporary and useful, but the constant touchstone for me is always other people.

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