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The Darkness You See

Updated on October 4, 2016

What's Shines Brighter Than The Darkness?

And what darkness do you see?

Existentially contemplating the answer isn't easy. It could be. Just take the superficial route. That is not you even though the path of the superficial is one completely and always open.

Take a true artist's approach and disregard with extreme prejudice.

Don't even think about answering the question. Witness all things in feeling. In essence. That is the type of boorish, non-advice people pay a lot of money they don't have to professionals they don't need. The advice has to be worth something.

Staring out over the city, five hours after the sun falls, reveals a lot of darkness. The neorealist darkness is simply the absence of the sun and any artificial light. Buildings are illuminated. As are streets and alleys. And then some are not. The darkness is visible in spots and no so visible - if visible at all - in others. Such is the nature of the truly being.

Being in the know or being part of the moment are thought in grand and eloquent - nee romantic - terms. A skier ascending to point of nearly reaching an artist's impression of heaven upon talking flight is in the moment. Athletic glory leading to a transformation of the self. Not the self, really. Perception changes in the moment. The self is always the self. Although the self can change with perception.

Not all perception is grandeur.

Being in the moment of darkness is accessible to those whose thoughts wander to escapism. Wandering thoughts they have much of. True escape, virtually none.

Wandering too close to the edge of a city roof brings the ever-present risk of taking a fall. That is not only good advice for people shambling on a city rooftop at 3 A.M. Seriously, they truly need it less than those taking the greater risk walking around on the ground. Who doesn't know getting too close to a rooftop's edge is a bad idea? Staying three feet from the edge is safe. Six inches from the edge could even be safe. Having your feet firmly planted on the sidewalk is not always safe. The metaphorical edge, it is just too easy to miss. People miss one or more of those edges every day when they walk on the sidewalk of this city during this point in history, five or six years flower-power removed.

They are falling and falling and they don't know it. They know once they hit the ground. Even then they don't know. Sometimes.

Even standing above it all, the weight still crushes down from overhead. The rooftop physically removes you. The images stay in your mind. They create the weight whether you know they are the tonnage is there or not. Even if you trade your rooftop in for a mountain top many leagues away.

And the stench rises. The edge of the roof is never a real escape. Once you have seen the darkness in all its crystal clear nature, there's nowhere to go. You always remember what you saw, what you heard, what you felt, and those acrid smells.

And what did you see through the darkness? The neon lights shine from Times Square. Shadows cast from the marquees of third-run theaters that are fronts for flophouses and all sorts of other types of houses. Staring from above you see the marquee differently. You see the people walking below the marquee from a different angle, but you still see them for who and what they really are.

And you cannot hide who you really are. You are part of the landscape. The rooftop is not an escape from the landscape. It is part of the landscape as are you. Enjoy the brief respite as you clean off the blacktop. The sun is soon to rise and descending back to where you came from is unavoidable.

Just allow yourself to blend in until the time to return to the roof comes again.


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