Valley of Darkness

The Sun Merchant led me around the corner of a cliff where villages were tucked away, high above, and the walls of rocks were etched with panels of carved animals to ward off waring tribes and plagues.

“It is so beautiful,” I said. I stared at steep cliffs of green and water and clouds.

“This is your perfect world,” The merchant handed me a mirror and flew into the blue, swirling mist that surrounded the vista.

“Perfect,” I repeated. “The black deep holes at the bottom,” I pointed to the darkness. “I must stay away from those.”

“Don’t be afraid of the darkness. It is only dark because the sun is not reaching it. It holds many beautiful flowers and a wonderful stream where fish play with frogs and snails dance with butterflies.” Her voice drifted over the top of the cliffs. It sang with tones of green and gold and the color of a lullaby dripped over the hills like syrup of love and light.

When I stepped further into the canyon I realized I was not alone. There were many animals that I knew and many I didn’t know. They played in a circle at the bottom of the canyon walls, deep inside the darkness and sparkled with stars. I moved toward them and the entire space opened into a vast blue arena.

“Hold your breath,” a chipmunk shouted. “We’re going for a swim.”

And with that the sea approached with a wave of glittering liquid and we all spun around and blended to one large soda fizz. The Sun Merchant drank us and smiled. “That was good,” She rubbed her stomach. "Now we are all one and we can start all over again.

I was no longer I, yet I knew without a doubt that I existed as part of another “I” that was a “we” and we all were also one with another larger “I”. But then I said to myself, which was now you and her and they and we, “I, I, I, it’s all too much to contemplate. I’ll just enjoy it and stop trying to figure it all out. So I just floated on the water, ate cake, and listened to music.”

Currently unavailable for purchase


dark, light, fantasy, spirit, story, spiritual, short, fable

John Fish is a Los Angeles artist who paints abstracts, landscapes and portraits with expressive painterly strokes and heavily textured surfaces. I explore the way space flows to entwine objects that have no boundaries.

View Full Profile


  • Kathie Nichols
    Kathie Nicholsalmost 6 years ago

    So glad you wrote this separate as a writing, beautifully written and goes so well with your artwork! Wow!

  • butchart
    butchartalmost 6 years ago


  • Mariapmann
    Mariapmannalmost 6 years ago

    John, a beautiful and delightful journey into a delightful world. My Sunday has been considerably brightened and enriched!

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait