State of the Savage: December 2016

by Keith Savage · 8 comments

In the Birks O' Aberfeldy, Perthshire, Scotland

The days are getting longer. Light seeps back into the world, slowly, inch by inch and day by day. We are cataloguing and packaging up the past year, wiping away tears for the lost ones and celebrating the continuation of our heart fires. But there is a chill in the air from something other than these late December nights.

A dark road unfurls ahead and we are walking on it together, whether we like it or not. The modern world can seem like a terrible place beset upon by our darkest demons if you take it all in. What we see on the news, hear on the radio, and read in papers is humanity at its worst: Destructive, irrational, petty, and afraid. At every turn we are fed fear so that, in time, we will reject any morsel straying from that diet. There is room for little else in the fearful. But disdain would be uncharitable. We are only human. We were not built for this world we’ve built.

So I pull the blinds, close my eyes, practice my forgetting. It’s easier to give up on us when the report card is a slate of Fs year after year. Misanthropic isolationism, that’s the ticket. Raise your arms and hold back the flood. Don’t let it pierce your hardened heart. Though the world might burn around you, at least you’ll see it happen, give the old I-told-you-so nod. After all, caring is bad for business.


Oh fear, you chameleon.

Darkness grows where the light gutters out. We are not irredeemable. We are not alien. We are not stronger apart, hardened behind ramparts, watching impassively. These are all difficult concepts for a self-proclaimed misanthrope, yet I know them to be true.

I have never codified my faith — I’ve never even articulated it to myself — but it’s pretty simple. All things are connected and mirrors of one another. Give darkness, receive darkness. There is no escape from our tethers, so it is a fool’s gambit to rape and pillage and lie for personal gain. You will be back here in some guise to reap your poison seeds.

This year, let’s resolve ourselves to be compassionate, welcoming, empathetic, respectful, and grateful. Life is a curious puzzle hard enough on the heart and mind without working against ourselves. Perhaps with this resolution we might offset the darkness from those who have lost their way.

So crank open the flue this new year’s day and bring round the bellows to the hearth fire. Let hope and promise fill your days of fellowship. Resume your steward’s robes, lift your chin to the lengthening days, and find yourself in the snow-capped hill, the flickering rainbow, the struggling masses.

Sparks in the dark.

AnnNo Gravatar January 10, 2017 at 7:56 AM

Beautifully written, and a lovely expression of hope through your photography. A light-filled new years wish to you.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar January 10, 2017 at 8:26 AM

And to you, Ann. Thanks for reading.

Boyd StokesNo Gravatar December 28, 2016 at 3:08 PM

A master wordsmith Mr S. Bang on target in the most eloquent of manners. I always know that you express my sentiment in a way that I have no chance of emulating. Keep up the good work and thank you for your referrals, several of our customers have mentioned you this year. Will 2017 give us the chance to have another wee Speyside blat, or beyond, and maybe watch the sun go down through a wee dram refracting light in a crystal glass? Though I have just bought a hand turned such elm tumbler for enjoying the odd Balvenie, and others, from. Delightful. ’til next we meet my friend. Slainte and a happy new year.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 28, 2016 at 4:27 PM

Good to hear from you, Boyd. I hope all is well and thriving! Glad to hear some of my readers have found their way to your doorstep. It is high time I return to Speyside for some dedicated exploration. Let us hope 2017 is the year!

Linda WarrenNo Gravatar December 28, 2016 at 12:20 PM

Absolutely beautiful! You have perfectly expressed what I (and many others, I’m sure) am feeling but couldn’t put into words half as eloquently. Thank you for this lovely description of darkness and hope . . . and Blessings to us all.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 28, 2016 at 1:08 PM

Happy New Year, Linda.

Lisa EudyNo Gravatar December 28, 2016 at 11:55 AM

I love reading your posts. Who can look at that beautiful picture and not have hope and believe in miracles?

Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 28, 2016 at 1:10 PM

Cheers, Lisa.

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