Logic, rationality, the way we often speak to one another, are all based on an assumption that only one thing can be true at a time.
It is either light or dark. It is either good or bad. I feel either love or revulsion, energised or exhausted. We tell each other, “I saw this.” or “This is what happened.” or “This is what I think.” or “That’s a fact.” We speak in binaries. In certainties. About others and about the world around us. This is what judgement is all about.
Monday was the Autumnal Equinox, a moment when there is equal hours of day and night. I have often thought of it as a moment of balance, as if the sun and moon rested on two sides of a scale. I have often thought about it in terms of two opposing forces – Day, Light, Energy vs. Night, Dark, Sleep.
But this year was different. Instead what I felt was the transition, the energy which never pauses but propells us over the pinacle of the summer mountain and down the autumnal hill. There is no static moment where we balance, however precariously, at the summit. It is one continual motion. A movement. A transition.
The equinox came at a time when I was thinking about my own path as a writer of stories, and I realised that this is one of the things I value most about stories. They defy logic and rationality, and tell instead what is true.
Stories say, it can be light and dark. It can be good and bad. Someone, something can be many different things, all at once. Non-fiction, academic and journalistic articles try to explain, but a story can show. It can pull you close, reach down inside to the very heart of you and say, “Remember when you felt both joy and deep sadness? Remember when you felt surrounded by people and yet completely and utterly alone? Remember when that thing that seemed bad also seemed a little bit good? When a decision felt both right and fundamentally wrong.” Stories reach out to us and shine a light on what is already there inside.
Dusk. Dawn. When there is the presence of light AND darkness.
The Autumnal Equinox, which hold elements of both high summer and deep winter.
We hold the possibility of deeper understanding inside of us…that at the same time,
Two Things Can Be True.