Today, the sun never really came up. The night lasted late into the morning and cloud-cover kept noontime and afternoon gloom-ridden. We drove into town to get groceries and lingered at Two Sisters, our favorite local bakery, over chocolate bread and hot drinks. The beautiful women who work behind the counter wondered if the day would ever lighten.
After a month of ringingly clear and cold days, today’s low sky felt threatening. And yet, part of me reaches towards this dark. I hung small white lights on the porch railings. We put up our Christmas tree. All day, I felt as if could cup the light in my hand.
Since summer ended, I’ve been listening to a fairly large number of people I know who leave for warmer climes at this time of year. So many of them have expressed that the just “can’t do” the darkness anymore, can’t spend the winter here but must go someplace brighter, more congenial. They label themselves suffers of Seasonal Affective Disorder. But I wonder. Is it the inner darkness that chills them more than the outer?
As the pace of the world slows, as night lingers late into the day and returns swiftly, we turn inward, finally slowing down enough that our thoughts rise to the surface. The glitter and swarm of summer gives way to the introspection of winter. The time of stories, those we tell to ourselves, those we tell to others, those we wear wrapped around our hearts deep beneath our skin.
These dark stories are the ones that I want to dance with. As the silence of the season gathers around, I commit myself to listening to these slower tales, just whispers and hints, innuendos of blood and muscle, exhalations of the world.