"All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others. Although she continued to knit, and sat upright, it was thus that she felt herself, and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures. When life sank down for a moment, the range of experience seemed limitless. . . . Beneath it is all dark, it is all spreading, it is unfathomably deep; but now and again we rise to the surface and that is what you see us by." -- Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (qtd. in Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, 2005)
Struck by the imagery of solitude as darkness and depth. The most essential self is defined not by light but by dark. The self is an oceanic chasm that can be explored but never fully known. Even as we dive further and swim new channels, its topography shifts and expands outward, defying any attempt at mapping its boundaries. So we rise to clearer, sun-touched shallows and tidal pools to feel the comforts of knowing and being known, but we should never make the mistake of supposing that this surface knowing can plumb the depths of the self that lies beneath.