BELOW THE EDGE OF DARKNESS

Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:

Bioluminescence is oceanographer Edith Widder’s great obsession.

Put simply, bioluminescence is light produced by a chemical reaction within a living organism.

Fireflies and certain fungi aside, the vast majority of bioluminescence occurs in the ocean: fish, bacteria, and jellies, the most common forms of which are those creatures that float through the water with transparent bell-shaped bodies and tentacles.

There’s quite a bit of science in Widder’s new memoir: Below the Edge of Darkness: A Memoir of Exploring Light and Life in the Deep Sea. But you don’t have to be a scientist to be amazed and inspired by Widder’s life beneath the sea.

Born and bred in Massachusetts to academic parents, Widder was poised to become a biologist. But a spinal fracture, diagnosed during her college years, led to a surgery with complications that almost killed her and also rendered her temporarily blind. With amazing good humor, she emerged after four months flat on her back in a hospital bed.

“Fiat Lux” she names the chapter in which her sight slowly returns. Though she carefully refrains from labeling her recovery a miracle, it’s hard to miss the fact that out of this time of great personal darkness arose her life’s work, drive, and passion. 

READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.

4 Replies to “BELOW THE EDGE OF DARKNESS”

  1. Being a former high school biology teacher driven to share wonder and delight in the natural world this article made me so happy! Thank you Heather!

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Such crazy wonder and beauty, Molly! Glad you liked this one, and I did not know you’re a former high school biology teacher–that explains a lot…x!

  2. Stephen Sparrow says: Reply

    Great piece – thank you Heather

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Thank you, Stephen–so glad you liked it!

I WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS!