Saturday, March 15, 2014

Waxing Lyrical - a highly personal blog post #amwriting #naturesbeauty

Some of you have told me you like it when my blog posts are more personal. If you were one of those, well then this post is for you.

There is a darkness inside me. 

Not an evilness of spirit. Not a hatred or violence toward my fellow man and woman. It contains no malevolence for anyone but me. It is a dark, morose, sometimes-nearly-hopeless part of me that I am in near constant battle with. There has always been a darkness of spirit within my soul, but it has primarily lain dormant. Seven years ago now several major blows occurred to my emotional well-being within a very short time frame, beating me down to a low point - a frightening point - and I have never fully recovered. I suspect I never will. My husband is the only reason I survived that period at all.

The darkness saw it's chance and grasped a tighter hold on my soul, feeding on my weakness. It is a vile, excrutiating, pus-filled, cancerous emotional tumor, that grows year by year as life adds painful experiences and my emotional resilience continues to erode like rocks in the sea with the constant wear of water and sand. I fear one day it will completely consume me.

It creeps in most days on silent feet, with no warning, slamming into me when I least expect it. Sometimes there are triggers - minor things that most people wouldn't think twice about. Things that wouldn't even crack open the door to let the bleakness slither through for anyone else - at least not anyone but me. Other times it is just there - no trigger needed - when I wake up in the morning.

And the battle begins. I war within myself, the light fighting to the death against the dark despair for one more day.

There are days when I don't win the battle with the darkness, and those are some pretty difficult days. I'm lucky I have the support of an understanding husband and family, as well as prescribed medication to help me on those days.
But most days I win the battle between the dark and the light. And on those days - the many really good days - I look for the beauty around me and the good in everyone, like an infant roots around to find his mother's milk.

I try to be a positive influence on those around me and I try to make my husband laugh until he can't breathe. I do know how to do that. Have to make putting up with me on the bad days worthwhile, don't ya know.

Monday, March 10th was one of those good days for me. Here in South Australia it was a holiday - Adelaide Cup Day - making it the final day of a three day weekend and my husband and I decided to take a little road trip to somewhere I'd never been before - Beachport, South Australia.

Sea view
We hopped in the car and an hour and a half later after some really bumpy roads, and some not very remarkable scenery we arrived at the sweetest little seaside town. The town had that wonderful feeling about it that you only find in tiny little resort towns, where everything is casual and it is always summer and everyone is happy and friendly and welcoming. You just know you'd love to retire and live out the rest of your days in such a wonderful place.

It had a cute little jetty and sandy beach where we parked and had a picnic lunch.


Afterward we drove up to the lighthouse and from there we could see the remains of the old lighthouse - just a shell of the bottom portion left out on a tiny island not far from shore. 

New lighthouse

And then we decided to take the tourist drive. A two kilometre stretch of winding coastal road with amazing views of the sea.

Old Lighthouse - that tiny speck in the distance.

At this point in my story you are wondering what I meant when I said I was going to wax lyrical and get personal, aren't you? I mean, yes I got pretty personal in the beginning, but now it's just sounding like a travel brochure, right? Well I'm getting there, trust me.

We drove along this road and stopped at several vantage points to enjoy the views. About a kilometre down this road we stopped again and here is where it happened.

The view at this particular vantage point was so incredibly beautiful that I was overwhelmed with raw emotion.

Perfect view to the left.

I noticed everything. The caress of the sun on my skin and the kiss of the soft ocean breeze against my face making the dangling scarf ties of my sun hat dance. The firm, reassuring grasp of my husband's fingers entwined with mine. The heady scent of the salty sea.

Those fabulous sensations enhanced the most perfect view I have ever seen.

Perfect center view
The colors were so vivid. The various shades of rock, and the deep green of the foliage in front of us contrasting with the beige of the sand, and the cerulean blue of the sea with the shimmering sun making it sparkle as if it were made of glittering fairy dust, against the cornflower blue of the sky, peppered with splashes of luminous white clouds.

If I believed in God I could have believed this scene had been painted by the creator himself for one specific purpose - to heal. This view was so powerful, so beautiful and the moment was so perfect - it literally brought me to tears - and I thought to myself...

Perfect view to the right.
If only every person in the world could see and experience this moment just as I am right now, and feel exactly what I feel, the beauty of it would erase all the pain of humanity and it would completely heal everything that is wrong in the world. 

There could be no more wars, or hate, or poverty or violence, or any other ills if only every person could experience this. It's beauty was surely perfection itself and I've never seen anything else to compare. It felt completely restorative. 

And I just sat there for a long time, tears raining down my face. Tears of joy that I am so privileged to have had the chance to experience such immeasurable beauty. And tears of sorrow that not everyone could. It was such a spiritual, overpowering experience. One of the most magical of my life.

Bonus photo.
I humbly attempted to capture a small bit of it to share with you as you can see above, but the photos come nowhere near doing it justice. My photographic skills and equipment are limited, but I don't think even the best photographer could have captured that perfect spot in that perfect moment.

Sadly, the magical feeling did not last beyond that day, or even beyond that hour. On my dark days I will try to retrieve that memory that I attempted to store today, and maybe it will help in the battle against the vicious blackness that threatens to overtake me. 

My perfect moment didn't heal the world - it didn't even heal me. But if I could have bottled it...who knows?

Have you had a perfect moment? 
Please tell me about yours.

*All photographs used in this article are the exclusive property of A.B. Shepherd. Photographs may not be used without the express written permission of A.B. Shepherd.


  1. I want to thank you for sharing this. All of it was beautiful- even the "darkness".

    I have always had a darkness inside me, but since I was blessed with my daughter, I know that darkness can be defeated- IS defeated. That doesn't mean I don't have those moments, but it does mean that I know it is overcome and will not devour me.

    Yes, I believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ. But, I also see Him in the wonderful blessings around me. The people He has placed in my life. (They're not there by accident.) The sunsets. The ocean. The views like those that touched you that day. That wonderful warm (or cool) breeze right when I need it. The laughter of babies. The way the daughter I never should have had looked at me when she was born. The way she looks at me now.

    I know our beliefs are different, but our emotions are the same. You say your husband and friends have comforted (supported) you through the darkness. I say God has comforted me and brought me through mine.

    My perfect moment was when my daughter was born placed on my chest. Time stopped while we stared at each other- mesmerized. I still can't believe she's here, and that was 9 years ago. :)

    1. When I asked for the perfect moments of others I actually expected to get responses similar to yours - the birth of a child. Yes, our beliefs are different, but that doesn't mean they are not compatible, as you well know. *hugs* Thanks for sharing my dear Anita.

    2. Big hugs to you, my friend! And, thank you again for this wonderful post!