“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
As the year draws to its close, I find myself in a melancholy mood. “Dark biliousness” – so did the ancient Greeks call this excess of negative humours that manifests itself as a feeling of glumness with a sad mien and lack of energy, propensity to tears, a depression. It is a mood that makes one particularly selfish. One stays inside and pulls the blinds down – staying in at home is optional.
With lots of thoughts. So many thoughts that one’s head threatens to burst asunder. “What if…”; “Maybe…”; “Had things been different…”; “If so-and-so had said this, done this…”; “If only…”; “All would be different now…” – so many alternative universes that my head will surely explode. Parallel realities, all unreal. How can one escape from this dark, deep pit that saps one’s life?
Another year draws to a close. Where did all that time go? What happened? How did all those days and nights rush by? Even with a few hours sleep a night every night, the year rushed by as if I were on an express train, seeing all the brightly-lit stations flit by, and only now, I am stopped still in a dark tunnel. The train has stopped, no lights, no lights at the end of the tunnel. And yet my destination awaits me – who knows how far ahead, but it’s there. That is the only certainty.
Clutching the darkness, I feel the palpable black bile that surrounds me with its glutinous, suffocating texture. Searching for something substantial to hold on to. A hand? No, it could clutch a dagger. A rope? No it could strangle me. A chain firmly fixed? No it could fetter me. A piece of wood? No, a crucifix to crucify me. Maybe just a warm embrace that I could sink into and be rescued by. Even if it stifles me…
And yet I go on, I invent my own rescue. I move on pulling myself forward with invisible threads, each strand attached to each of my cells. I follow a faint glimmer of hope in the darkness. A tiny, pale, blue little light. Hope is a lambent blue butterfly invented to rescue me from madness. So insubstantial and yet its wings strong enough to pull the invisible threads upwards and lift me out of my dark pit.
Another year waits in the wings, ready to come on stage upon hearing its cue. We shall travel together you and I. You, young and golden-haired, and I, well I am old and old enough to know better and be strong and go forward. I pull myself up and will manufacture a light at the end of the tunnel. We must hope otherwise we shall die at once. Death will come soon enough, no need to invite him before his time. This too shall pass.