13. Art

equipment-in-the-dark

The Way Out

You don\’t know what dark is until you\’ve been in a coal mine without a light. That\’s what my friend James told me when we were talking about phobias not long ago. He said that he used to do some work in coal mines in West Virginia and that on one occasion his lantern lost power. At the time, he was working in a small shaft branching off of a much larger artery in the mine. With no light, he had to trust his mind and his memory to find his way out.

Normally when the lights go out your eyes adjust and you\’re able to at least see a little something. But in a coal mine it\’s different. There is no light in the mine. None, James said.

So how\’d you get out? I asked.

Well, when I lost sight of things, I also lost my sense of direction. I started making my way out “ or at least I thought it was the way out. But I wasn\’t certain that I was really heading in the right direction. I could\’ve just as easily been heading deeper into the mine. I had to trust my memory of things and my sense of touch to identify sections of the equipment that I had been working on. I just kept moving and touching things, hoping that I was on the way out.

And so when did you know you were going to get out? I asked.

Only when I saw that glimmer of light, he said.

Day 13 Guide

Even in the light of day it\’s easy to get lost in the world. You should never stop looking for a glimmer of light. Keep playing your music, looking up at the stars, connecting with friends, wondering, praying, laughing.

© 2009, Levi Hill

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