Wednesday, January 4, 2012
A Year With Thomas Merton - January 3
New Year's Darkness
The year struggles with its own blackness.
Dark, wet mush of snow under frozen rain for two days. Everything is curtained in purple greyness and ice. Fog gets in the throat. A desolation of wetness and waste, turning to mud.
Only New Year's Day was bright. Very cold. Everything hard and sparkling, trees heavy with snow. I went for a walk up the side of the Vineyard Knob, on the road to the fire tower, in secret hope of "raising the sparks" (as the Hassidim say), and they rose a little. It was quiet, but too bright, as if this celebration belonged not to the New Year or to any year.
More germane to this new year is darkness, wetness, ice and cold, the scent of illness.
But maybe this is good. Who can tell?
The morning was dark, with a harder bluer darkness than yesterday. The hills stood out stark and black, the pines were black over thin pale sheets of snow. A more interesting and tougher murkiness. Snowflakes began to blow when I went down to the monastery from the hermitage, but by 10:30 the sun was fairly out and it was rapidly getting colder.
Evening--new moon--snow hard crackling and squealing under my rubber boots. The dark pines over the hermitage. The graceful black fans and branches of the tall oaks between my field and the monastery. I said Compline and looked at the cold valley and tasted its peace. Who is entitled to such peace? I don't know. But I would be foolish to leave it for no reason.
January 3 and 4, 1968, VII.32-33