Sunday, December 9, 2012

Season of darkness and light

Twelve more days until the winter solstice. Then it starts getting lighter again. For those of us in the Pacific Northwest, it's dark when we get up unless we sleep in, and it's dark before the 5:00 o'clock news. And, west of the Cascades, it's rainy, or shrouded with low clouds with no snow on the ground to reflect available light. Every few days the sun comes out for a time. Then we go for a walk and squint gratefully into the sky.

Some people like this time of year. They say it's cozy. Others, like me, feel heavy and dark inside. I double up on my vitamin D, take a homeopathic supplement, and turn on a lightbox for half an hour every morning. Even then, it's a long slog through this time of year in the darkness. Even though I know it's coming, it's a shroud on my spirit.

And yet, here we are in the holiday season. We have lights and little ornaments on our artificial ficus and a small LED-lit tree in our bay window. Last year's live tree spent the season in a pot in our living room; it's now planted along our walkway and festive with lights.  We have 22 stockings hung on the banister - including one for our potbellied pig, Bud, who passed away over a year ago at the age of 18. This week I have family visiting, with a small, laughter-filled gathering last night over a lovely shrimp pasta dish, and another larger one this afternoon. 


We are honoring Art's daughter Laura and her new husband Brian with a holiday gathering attended by both sides of her family. Laura's mother Nancy and I have collaborated on the planning. It will be a festive, fun day. Next weekend we'll host several of our children and grandchildren at a family dinner and generic gift exchange. And then our holiday season home events will be finished until we welcome our 12-year-old granddaughters on December 26 for their annual holiday visit. 

Yesterday, Art and I went to the funeral of an elderly neighbor. Once again we were sitting in a church - a place we rarely go these days except for weddings and funerals. Years ago I was a liturgical musician, and this Advent season was a busy one for us as we prepared for the coming of the Light. Those songs still reside in my spirit, and yesterday I sang one of them at the funeral. I noted I can still read music after all these years.

"The music of the spheres" is a phrase from a hymn I remember from my childhood. It seems to me that this season of darkness and light is all a part of it. The music, that is. 

On January 1 we leave for Tucson and the sun. 






20 comments:

Terra said...

How ideal you will leave for Tucson Jan. 1 to find some sun. I like your 22 stockings hung, including one for your potbellied pig, and wow, you are planning a big family gathering.
Happy holiday season to you.

Ms Sparrow said...

It sounds like you need the sun. Thanks for reminding me that the days will start getting longer pretty soon. Of course, that also means it will start getting a lot colder. Enjoy Arizona!

Grandmother said...

Yes, weather affects our spirits and since yours responds to light, Good for you for going to Tucson.

Cathie said...

The music of the spheres - that line is from "This is My Father's World". I always liked that line...

DJan said...

I am one of those who doesn't mind the dark days. In fact, I find it awfully hard to get enough sleep in the summertime around here, with light when I go to be and light when I awake. I'm glad you are going to Arizona to be with the sunshine, Linda. I'll be thinking of you soaking it up! :-)

Olga said...

The thing I like most about time spent in Florida is that the days stay the same. Twelve hours of daylinght, twelve hours of night. As it should be!

Tom Sightings said...

You are so eloquent about the dark. And so completely right about the solution -- first the Christmas lights, and then the desert light!

Arkansas Patti said...

So sorry that the cloudy days bother you but am pleased that you have Arizona on the horizon to keep you going.
I am one of those annoying persons that really loves sunless days.

Perpetua said...

Yes a northern winter is hard on those who need light to function properly. I'm glad the darkness is being lifted for you by such enjoyable family gatherings, Linda. Roll on January 1st and the sun.:-)

Bob Lowry said...

Two days of cloudy skies and I get grumpy. How long do you figure I'd last in Seattle in the winter?

Betty and I may be coming down to Tucson in January in the RV. Maybe we can hook up with you and Earl.

I could never leave Phoenix in the winter time.

Dee said...

Dear Linda, I think that the month of December is hard for so many people. I always try to do too much and cram too much into a short period. Mostly I do a lot of baking of yeast bread as well as quick bread and cookies and give these as gifts. I'm one of those persons, however, who likes winter and the gradual decline into darkness and then the joy of new light after the solstice. It's there that I'm aware of the music of the spheres!

Your plans sound inviting. I hope everyone enjoys being together. And I hope that the thought of Tucson keeps your heart warm until January! Peace.

Retired English Teacher said...

I know I could not live in the Northwest for the reasons you give. Thankfully, you know this about yourself and have the wherewithal to do something about it. You will enjoy Arizona.

Your Christmas celebrations sound fun. Enjoy.

Linda Reeder said...

I hear the melancholy tone in your words, a feeling that the lack of light and past remembrances can bring. Each day I exclaim how dark it is already. But then we turn on the lights of the tree and the lights outside the window and the sparkle lights up the mood and chases the melancholy back to the dark edges. January will be hard, with out the lights. But you are heading for the sun! I will keep busy.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Its a little chilly out here right now, especially at night & Tucson even had a frost warning a couple nights ago (stuff we don't really get in Phoenix) but during the day the sun is shining bright and you'll get your fill of blue skies to shake the winter gloom right out of you. Enjoy the family time and your trip!

Jackie/Jake said...

We have timeshare as well and really enjoyed our stay in Sedona. We'll be back there in mid-March hopefully.
Thanks for dropping by and visiting!!

I too hate these short days. We're in Nevada at the moment and it is dark around 4:15 which I dislike immensely!

Galen Pearl said...

I hear you. I'm a fellow PNW-er (Pacific Northwest). I slept in this morning and it was STILL dark when I got up. But now the sun is out for a rare appearance. I often get down in the dark, but for some reason this year I feel more on the cozy side. Must be acclimating here after twenty years!

Jackie/Jake said...

Thanks for dropping by and commenting on our life changes.
I too loved my house but once we made the decision I was able to realize it was "only" a house and moved on. My husband had a harder time emotionally leaving but is very happy with our changes except his misses the cat as do I!

Anna said...

Thanks for the reminder that in 12 more days the worst will be over and we will start getting better light.

Tuscon is a great city. I have relatives nearby in Sahuarita.

Pranavam Ravikumar a.k.a. Kochuravi said...

I was actually very far from the blogging world for a long time.

I started logging in back from yesterday. Glad that I dropped in here. Very lovely written.

Regards and gud wishes!

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Yes that seems like fun and work. I wish I had more family nearby. But we'll figure out something to make this a special time with whoever is around.
I have restarted playing keyboard and am glad I can still read notes. Silent Night is starting to improve in sound.