In Praise of Darkness–Sort Of

I don’t feel happy and festive this time of year. A lot of the time I feel the opposite. It’s dark and cold, traffic is terrible, people are crazy with the over-spending and the tacky sweaters and the obnoxious music and the jingle bells. My family is far away, too, which creates a whole thorny tangle of emotions that I’m not going to bore y’all with. I spent yesterday feeling melancholy and reading Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair–which meant alternately cackling and weeping whilst drinking too much tea.

A Hill Full of Conifers, and Light on the Frosty Trees

But this morning the sun came up on a frozen world, and when I was getting wood for the fire I saw how pretty everything was outside. Then I came inside and my eyes fell on this:

Tara, the Sun, a Slice of Agate, Chimes, and a Swirl of Japanese Maple Twig

This is my favorite spot in our house. Our house was built in the 20’s, and since then has changed hands quite a few times. At one point it was a restaurant, and the restaurant owners cut a hole in the wall to pass orders and plates through. Later the hole was walled over on one side, creating this cool little nook. Looking at it always fills me with a sense of tranquility, especially in the morning when soft light falls across it.

Light. This is the season when I think a lot about light–the sun’s light, of course, but also the light within all of us,  the light of spirit and hope. Funny how much attention I pay to something when it seems scarce, huh?

The Volvo Looks Like It's Covered in Spray Glitter

When the light changes, I see things I didn’t see before. The young branches on the Japanese maple are red, not brown like I might have assumed. I’m maybe not as optimistic as I thought I was, now that the days are shorter. I love the Stepspawn more than I realized, but I sort of hate that one sweater I wear all the time. And even though she often makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a barbecue fork, I really miss my mom.

Japanese Maple Branches Look Good in Red

Also, chain link fences are more interesting in the cold.

This is a Fence Post. But it's Sparkly!

And even firewood can be pretty sometimes.

I am a Texture Freak

Of course I don’t need ice to realize that leaves are incredible, but I can’t get enough of the crunchy crystallized leaves, so here’s another one for y’all:

Leaves are Awesome

I spent a lot of time on the phone with a friend yesterday, mulling over why I always go a little crazy in December. Feeling sort of weepy, worrying, as I always do this time of year, that maybe this time I’m actually heading down in to depression again, like back in college when I was depressed for several years.

A Branch. Don't Ask Me Why.

And she said to me, “But you have friends around you now, and we won’t let you go down there alone.” ‘Bout made me blubber like a baby who dropped her binky. Her words didn’t take away the weepy, but they did fill me with a deep sense of comfort and gratitude. It’s good to be reminded of how much I have to hold on to, and be grateful for.

But I’m still looking forward to longer days.


4 thoughts on “In Praise of Darkness–Sort Of

  1. I love you Michelle!!! And soon it will be January! And can I just say how that fence pole is tempting me to lick it and see if my tongue sticks?

    1. Thanks Celia! I can use all the good vibes I can get. You know, as soon as Christmas was over I felt a little better. And I’ll feel a LOT better when January 1 gets here, and the whole holiday season is over and I can start looking forward to SPRING!!!

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