Hello darkness, my old friend

By Melissa Hardiman

By the wonderful Melissa Hardiman

The teachers tell us to embrace darkness. I am a student of darkness. They do not show me my grades. They keep me in the dark, so to speak.

Meanwhile, all the commercial forces around us tell us to celebrate light, virtue, and wonder. They tell us to create a secure future. Whatever secure might mean.

What are we to do? Simon and Garfunkel were close to sainthood, in my opinion, when they sang Sounds of Silence during my senior year in high school.

In restless dreams I walked alone. —Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel

And the people bowed and they prayed, to a neon god they made.—Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel

The song had an interesting past. Consider these facts.

Released in October 1964, the album was a commercial failure and led to the duo breaking apart, with Simon returning to England and Garfunkel to his studies at Columbia University.

And this.

The song hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1965, leading the duo to reunite and hastily record their second album, which Columbia titled Sounds of Silence in an attempt to capitalize on the song’s success. The song was a top ten hit in multiple countries worldwide, among them Australia, Austria, West Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Generally considered a classic folk rock song, the song was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” in 2013.

So, you might think what you are doing does not matter, and will not affect many people. It can have a delayed effect. Trust yourself. It has happened to the rich, famous, and righteous. Why not to you? Or to me?

I recommend honoring darkness. I have dear friends who are in the depths of darkness. Being with them is not punishment, it is a privilege. I have my own darkness, and I am learning not to resent it, but to embrace it. Darkness has a bad reputation that it does not deserve. It is a place of instruction. Yes, we learn there.

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