Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One More Week

Living in Spokane is great in the summer, with its long days and often-perfect weather. Sometimes the summers get too hot. But the days are always wonderfully long.

The other side of that coin is the winter. Last winter, we had crazy snow. Not the snow itself, flake by flake. Just that, in concert - by accumulation, you might say - there was no end to it.

But even without the snow - which they say this year will be light, and will melt off and on, which is nice - there are the days. They are short. It stays dark until 7 or 7:30 a.m., and starts to go dark by about 3:30 or 4. This happens every year, rain or shine or snow. And they get shorter and shorter, day by day.

It's true that the way to have those wonderfully long days in the summer is to have these painfully short days in the winter. So I take my lumps where they show up. And I try not to notice. In fact, I usually don't notice too much until after Thanksgiving. I guess it's all the activity that leads up to Turkey Day that keeps me distracted.

But every year, come December 1, I can't avoid my circumstances. It is dark. Let there be dark. And on the first day, it was dark...

Well, I could avoid them by moving to some sunnier, warmer, lighter climate. But I don't. Instead, I simply know one inalienable truth - that by December 1, I will be aware, acutely aware, of how short the days have become.

And two weeks ago, on December 1, I began my ritual of anticipating something else: December 22.

December 22 is the day after the winter solstice. And since the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, December 22 is when the days start to get longer again. I won't celebrate the solstice. But I do anticipate its aftermath. December 22 will be the marker to the beginning of light again. It will still be dark, yes, I know. But it will have turned the corner. As will I. One more week, and the days begin their journey back to long. Long live December 22!

photo credit: Joana Roja, found here

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