It was just after three last Sunday afternoon. From the warmth of my living room, I faced east, gazing out at our front lawn. Memories of amber and turquoise played on the snow like a misplaced aurora borealis. A quick glance over my right shoulder found the cause, beaming west-by-south-west through the hard winter air around cloud and bare branches and frozen roof lines. Moments like these remind me why I live here; only through bitter cold can one glimpse such ethereal beauty, and solely near the death of the year.
The light was barely clearing the bungalow across the alley, but was noticeably higher than this time of day only the week before. I started supper early that day, giddy at the prospect of playing prep cook without artificial glare emanating through our kitchen's overhead fixture. Much to my surprise, over an hour went by before I was forced the flip the switch. We may be done with candlelit dinners sooner than I thought. After so many weeks of seemingly unchanging darkness, my part of the world is whirling ever quicker back into the embrace of the sun.
Thanks to my daughter's schoolbus schedule, my days begin well before the dawn. I fumble my way downstairs to the bathroom, flicking on every light I pass, announcing to myself and my household that, despite all evidence to the contrary, it is indeed morning. The reward for this onslaught of electricity comes later: once the sky's indigo fades to blue (or often to white), I pull back the curtains. Soon after, the return of natural light allows me to extinguish its replacements, one by one. I grudgingly turn them back on again a few short hours later, for some chores just cannot be done well with a candle. With the solstice at last well behind us, those most needed bulbs get to rest a a little longer each day. Bit by bit, the night is getting shorter. And this year, I've noticed it's exit sooner, and bid it farewell from both ends.