Skip to main content

The early dark of December and I miss the light and the warmth I so easily claimed six months ago. A claim that I live more deeply, more productively, into the longer hours of midsummer sunshine. But it’s not true. Really. The hours, at least, are the same. Twenty-four of them in a day. To be exercised or consumed. Used up. Maximized. Whether it is dark outside or not.

I force my arm down the long sleeve tunnel of my winter parka. Lace up my boots, strapping in my wool socked feet. Pin my head into a scratchy hat and my hands into mittens — almost immediately pulling my thumb from its pocket seeking communion and comfort with its finger counterparts.

The weatherstripping groans a bit, or maybe that was me, the open door no longer an able barrier to the well-fortified wall of cold beyond. I step out. Only minutes past four o’clock PM and I sense the bookend on today sliding into place, tightening against what it holds leaving no room for more.

But more is what I want. I think.

More light. More time. More endurance. More patience. More abandonment. More union. More composure. More forbearance.

How assumptive and consumptive of me. As if these are not mine to have already.

The air at 30 some odd degrees pricks at my exposed skin. I pull up on my zipper. Out of habit. Covering what is bare. And I walk.

It’s true that the austerity of December darkness tugs at some deeper part of me that always questions the options. Thrust out into the inky light of dusk I nod to the starker contrast of a single barren tree branch against the dimming horizon. I wonder if I can find harmony as my brain sets about its chatter, boundaried only by the itchy hat and the icy cold. Loud. Demanding.

But I can also hear my breath and my footfalls. Reliably in synch. Matching pace. I wave to a neighbor equally bundled but companionably stalwart. We won’t stop to chat. I pass by lit windows and soften at the glow. The scent of wood smoke claims the air. Squirrels scuttle about to claim the harvest. Trees and shrubs claim their hibernation. I claim the intimacy of my witness to the settling in on this dark night. And it is enough.

Inside or outside your walls. If for only a moment or a breath. To soften the edges. To not lose your fortitude but, rather, to rebuild your capacity for all the new year will ask. May you find your enough.

Wishing you warmth and light and a very Happy New Year