On those lucky afternoons when I can skip out the door before the sky goes back to black I climb the hill and catch the light show. Pink is everything mid-January. Deliciously fresh, a promising kiss reminding us of all that will return in a few months. If there is enough daylight I’ll descend through the open field and in and out of the small woods where I saw a bear last summer.
Something about the bone chilling cold causes us to consider deeply each and every creak and crumble, deeply considering all the what where why whens that loom as phantoms of our fate. A crackling fire on our return burns every trivial ember.
Hyperbole is common speak in January.
Nihilism is not pessimism in the same way that December is not January or even that February is not January. There are differing gradations of dark days and snow-blinding light. Stages of a sort. A monochromatic existence except during those burst of brilliance which shoot low across the field, thought the stand of slender pines, to hit upon your eye. That burst you can’t time nor wait for since it happens as it may.
The wind is fierce on this hill. Wind chill is not easy to describe to someone who only knows temperature. It is an element all its own ready to strike directly into your last reserve, taking you at the knees with no regard for what comes next for you.
Night falls fast as it does, into a blanket of darkness obscuring every landmark along the way. So we keep our holiday lights on. The strands still twinkle along the fence. The stars that highlight the front porch too. The orbs that hang about the apple tree and lilac sway under the weight of dusty snow each filled with dozens of bright light echoing their glow in multiple convergent circles across the white lawn and breach beyond onto the road.
From dusk to dawn our whole world stays illuminated to beat back the dark.
Even though all the Christmas cookies have been eaten, the holiday roast only a cherished memory, every Santa wrapped and boxed and stacked in the cellar, one strand of color still pops beneath our picture window. This throwback to December daze a harbinger for spring color, for summer heat and celebration. It is January, just still lit.
**Night light photos by the very generous @artcitycreative @mjbouvier who always lets me steal the best ones