Light in the Dark

December has faded and has taken with her the colored lights and shiny bows and gold sequins. Finding it hard to hold your head up, keep your mental and physical health and that much needed drive at work? Seriously, who likes January? As we box up our Santas, store the wrapping paper for another year, place all the ornaments in the attic, we need something to help us out of the doldrums, right? My suggestion: keep your outside lights lit!

Before the holiday we spent loads of weekend time illuminating our house, with blanket lights on the bushes, multiple strands snaking up the light post, icicle lights circling the gazebo, and even more; all that glitter just made us smile throughout December and I for one say, keep the lights lit, for this month, at least. This post might apply more for those of us living in the bitterly cold north-east instead of the sunny west-coast or the warmth of the southern states, but I contend all of us need all the brilliance we can get while slugging our way through January.

This suggestion to keep your outdoor luminescence is not mine alone, for as we drive along the windy roads all over my county I still can spot window’s aglow with electric candles or a backyard tree ablaze with strands of white, and no matter my troubles, I feel renewed when I see these lights; maybe because I believe people don’t light these for themselves, but for all the weary travelers out there making their way home. There is a movement in January, granted a small one, but one that I proudly count myself a part of, and that is composed of those who continue to share the light during this long month.

Nature, too, seems to be in on this much needed luminiosity. Astro Bob explains far better than I:

“People often remark that the stars of winter are so much brighter than those in other seasons and assume it’s because the sky is exceptionally clear. The real reason the winter sky seems sparklier is simple – there are more bright stars concentrated there than in any other region of the sky for observers at mid-northern latitudes. Nine of the 25 brightest stars are found in and around the constellation Orion. There are an additional nine 2nd magnitude stars if you add in Orion’s Belt, the two remaining stars in his outline and four in the nearby constellation of Canis Major, the Greater Dog. That’s 18 sparklers in all. How can your attention not be drawn to the southern sky in winter? Toss in the moon and your retinas runneth over with radiance” (Astro Bob).

“Runneth over with radiance” indeed! Take a minute to look up at our night-time winter sky and you will see bright planets quite visible this time of year. Venus, Jupiter and Mars, along with all the stars possible are breaking up all the black. And the full moon. On this crisp late afternoon bundle yourself up and head out for a walk. Trudge off the day and look up. Shinning down is the Wolf Moon, a flat-faced beacon in the fading blue blue sky; in my neighborhood is another gift, which came in the night, a fresh blanket of snow, reflecting back to the heavens until I feel as if I am glowing. With the aid of this effulgent generosity, you will remember the way home.

You will remember the nature of light and the warmth of family as all the wonder of December bursts back into your heart… Suddenly, January is the most wondrous start of a New Year.

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