Blood is made in the dark
It’s the last day on the Gregorian year 2020, and I have broken down crying about a sofa twice in the past 24 hours. We just moved into a new house last week — we lived in the old one for 12 years, and had all the right furniture for that house. However, the furniture requirements of this house are very different, and I found myself waking up in the middle of the night for a couple weeks, moving book cases and credenzas around with my mind. However, a few days ago I found this couch that was going to fix everything: a local vintage sofa merchant agreed to sell it to me as soon as he put new legs on it. Unfortunately though, he turned around and sold it to somebody else when I didn’t immediately respond to his text telling me it was ready to pick up.
Friends, I was gutted.
Of course, it wasn’t about the couch. It’s dark out and the winter is hard, moving house is hard, our hearts are tender and this year has been so severe. Last night I was shaking a quart of paint to put the final coat on the baseboards in my office, and the lid popped off and suddenly my hair, face, clothes, the new hardwood floors, the door — everything — was dripping with pale pink paint. I froze for a long time, and as it slid down my neck, I was Carrie. The paint felt as viscous and binding as blood.
Blood, by the way, is made in the marrow of the bones of land vertebrates, but in the kidneys of fish. The reason for this was a mystery to scientists until a couple years ago, but here it is: blood — the stuff that carries our life force through our bodies — has to be made in absolute darkness, and our bones are the darkest place in us. Fish, on the other hand, live underwater and therefore don’t have as much exposure to UV radiation, so they just cover their kidneys in a coating of dark pigment — the equivalent of wrapping them in a black garbage bag. But the truth about blood is inescapable: no matter what animal you are, your precious life juice has to be forged in the dark.
So, regarding my paint bath, the sofa, the indignities of 2020, etc.: though we dislike the darkness, I think it’s necessary for life. We love the light, but the sun isn’t where the blood is made.
May we all step into this new year more curious about the darkness that feeds our lives so we can know the difference between what injures and what sustains us. May we cry about couches if we must, if it means we can cry.