A Dark Minute

Winter dressed with coat, hat, gloves and warm boots, I step outside. A blast of misty cold air smacks my face taking my breath away. Wow, I think, it is COLD!

Knowing the windshield of my car will need a few extra minutes to defrost before I leave, I start the engine and turn the temperature to high. Sitting in the car waiting for the warmth I feel just as cold as I did standing outside. I step out and take this opportunity to add a few more steps to my day while the car warms up.

We live in the country and the depth of nighttime darkness convinced us years ago to install a few spotlights on our house. The light reaches into the darkness just to the edges of the driveway. Beyond the circle of light only blackness exists at this early hour of the morning. I take a few tentative steps into the circle of light, testing my stability on the thin layer of snow. Light fluffy snow scatters with each step and I understand why my son said he used a leaf blower to clear the snow at his house. The temperature dropped so quickly before the storm that no ice formed.

I step away from the spotlight after setting the timer on my phone for one minute.

Eerie shadows crawl across the driveway, climb over a pile of gravel and reach for the trees. I slowly move forward into the dark. I pause when I reach full darkness to look up at the sky. With a sliver of moon too small to cast much light I see the stars of the familiar Big Dipper overhead. I take a deep breath feeling the cold air filling my lungs. As I exhale slowly I remember childhood summer nights lying in the grass watching the stars. I feel warmer recalling a summer memory.

By the time my phone beeps complete darkness envelopes me. Turning toward the light surrounding my car, I reflect on the childlike excitement that bubbles up inside as I walk back. Some fear pattern has shifted.  My reality now includes something powerful. I walk in the dark.

Mentastics Minute

  • Find a safe opportunity to walk outside in the dark, or semi-darkness. Use the time it takes for your windshield to defrost in the winter, for example, to walk briefly in the area of your car. Set a timer for one minute.
    • Does the surface feel smooth or uneven as you walk?
    • What does it feel like to take a few steps into darkness? A few more?
    • Pause in the darkness to take a deep breath, feeling the quality of the air entering your lungs.
    • What sounds do you hear?
    • What feelings arise? Is there a phrase that comes to mind?
  • Find a safe opportunity to be outside in the darkness, comfortably dressed. Set a timer for one minute.
    • Give your eyes a few minutes to adjust and then look up into the sky.
    • Can you see stars?
    • Do you recognize any constellations?
    • What sounds do you hear?
    • What feelings arise? Is there a phrase that comes to mind?

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