Waiting for the Light to Come

Hi. I’m Cassondra, and I have no curtains on most of my windows.

 Hi….I’m Cassondra, and  I leave my Christmas tree up until Groundhog Day each year.

 Hi…I hoard big boxes of 100 watt, incandescent bulbs, because they’re getting hard to find.  I need them.

 I have huge, six-by-three-foot windows all along the front of my house, but I may add skylights.

 I go to the tanning bed a few times each winter, just for the melatonin hit.

 Hi, I’m Cassondra, and I’m a lightaholic.

 It’s true.   Every bit of it.

 I know, I know, with the whole Goth chick, night-dwelling, coffin-sleeping image, you wouldn’t guess, would you?

 This vampire needs a lot of light.

 

 When I was a little girl, about this time every year, I’d go out with my dad to feed the cattle twice a day.  All bundled up in so many layers that my arms stuck out like a tiny, poofy blue scarecrow with fur trim, I’d follow him out there into the cold field beside the barn, and climb onto the back of the truck, throwing all of my skinny, five-year-old weight into shoving bales of hay off the tailgate, onto the ground in the chosen spots, while he drove artificially slow so I could do my part of the job.

 He could have done it in half the time without me.

 We went early in the morning, just after breakfast, and late in the evening, just before dark, which, in mid-December, came about five o’clock. 

 Once the hay bales were opened and the bundles scattered so all the cows could have their share, my dad would use an axe handle to bust the ice on the pond, and then we’d head for the warmth of the truck, crunching side-by-side across the frozen ground, mission accomplished.

 But about mid-January every year, my dad would stop, part way to the truck, and look up at the sunset sky.  He’d push his hat back on his head and squint toward the western horizon, at the cold, winter-pink sunset behind the bare branches of the woods at the back of the farm. 

And he’d say, “Days are gittin’ longer.”

 I’d stand beside him in my poofy blue, little-girl fur, and squint at that same pale pink light, and say, “Yep.”

 On those long, cold nights, we’d go back to the house, down to the basement where half of the floor was concrete and the other half packed dirt, and we’d sit around the wood stove.  Under the dim light of one bulb, my dad would sharpen his pocket knife.  Sometimes we’d roast chestnuts or peanuts in the shells, watching the fire blaze warm and bright through the holes in the stove dampers. 

 We were waiting for the light to come.

 I never asked my dad how he felt about the dark days of winter.  I didn’t have to.  He was a farmer.  He lived his life by the light of day, waited for it, so he could do his work.  Waiting for the earth to green so he could plow the ground, sow the seeds for his crops, plant his garden, and carry on. He lived and fed his family by watching the light. Depending on it.  Needing it.

 Sometimes I think it’s silly, the way I need the light.  Each year, on June 22nd, I’m overcome with a sense of dread.  I smoosh it down, so people don’t notice. But it’s there, in the background all summer and fall.  About mid-October, I mark my calendar for December 21st and the vigil begins.  I am waiting for the return of the light. 

I don’t want to live without four distinct seasons, but I know, now, that I could not live up north like Bandita Susan, or Bandit Buddy Jane.  I have SADD disease.  Sunlight Affective Depressive Disorder.   I don’t know if I was born with it, or developed it at some point along the way, but  this is why I hit the tanning beds a few times each winter. The short winter days….they are not good for me.  I need the light.

 That’s why I leave my Christmas tree up. The sparkle of the lights cheers me through the dark part of the year.

 This time of year, I get in touch with my inner Druid.  The one who, many centuries ago, probably danced under the full moon each month (maybe naked…scary thought)and celebrated each turning point in the Wheel of the Year.

 Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is the day I wait for.  Known as Imbolc, it’s the point when the returning light picks up serious speed in its fight to overcome the darkness. 

 If I can keep a bit of sparkle around me, ala Christmas lights, candles, or any source of fire, until Groundhog Day, I’ll be okay.  I can keep my spirits bright. The light gains about one minute a day, this time of year while the earth rests.  For the Druids, that was enough to celebrate the coming of the light.

 It’s enough for me, too.

 My dad’s birthday was January 2nd.  Two days ago.  Born in the darkest time of year, he lived for the coming of the light.   

I am like him in that way.  I don’t need  the light to feed my family, but I need it, just the same.

Tonight, as I considered what to write for my blog, I sat at my kitchen table, computer monitor glaring at me.

But I was staring out the window to my left.  The pond out back was a sheet of whisper-thin, clear ice, reflecting the pale pink of a winter sunset. 

As I sat there, I heard my dad whisper to me, “The days are gittin’ longer.”

 We have about two more weeks to go.  Two more weeks before I will feel that shift, here on the earth.  That lift in my spirit, that call to start watching for the bulbs to poke out of the dirt.  But my dad, from across the veil….he already sees it coming.  He knows the light is almost here.  

Maybe it’s folly, but I think he whispered encouragement to me from that place so far away that I cannot touch him, and yet so near that I sense his presence.

 Winter can be lovely, but I feel my spirit lift when I know that spring is coming…that the light is gaining ground.

 This lightaholic…this time of year…she gets her second wind.

 I’m a little early, but I feel it.  I am lifted, waiting for the light to come.

 What about you, Bandits and Buddies?

Do you notice the shifting of the seasons? 

 What changes for you with the increasing darkness, or the increasing light?

 Do you ever feel connected to something larger, something old, as the seasons pass?

 Do you love the cold weather and the snow?

 Or do you look forward to the coming of the light, and the warm summer days?

 Is there a palm tree in your soul?

 Or is there a ski slope?

 When do you take your Christmas tree down?

 How do you cheer yourself in the dark, cold days of winter?

 If you live in the tropics, do you notice a difference with the coming of “winter”? 

 Or do you enjoy the relief from the heat?

If you live south of the equator, do you wait for the longer days of summer–winter here in North America, where I live, for the warm sun?

It seems strange to us, that Christmas would come in summer for you.  Does it seem strange when we, in the northern hemisphere, speak of a white Christmas? 

In either hemisphere, are you like me?  Do you wait for the coming of the light?   

Posted in , , , , , , ,

Comments

73 thoughts on “Waiting for the Light to Come

  1. 1
    Helen says:

    Is he coming to visit

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • 1.1
      Cassondra says:

      He IS coming to visit, Helen!

      And I think he will be glad to be at your house for the day. ;0)

      • 1.1.1
        Helen says:

        I am sure he will Jayden and Hayley are here for a while and there is still lots of chocolate left LOL

        Have Fun
        Helen

        And I made Caramel biscuit slice and mars bar slice today for a BBQ tomorrow

        • 1.1.1.1
          Cassondra Murray says:

          OMgosh..Caramel Biscuit slice?

          You have to tell us what that is, and how to make it. THAT would make me smile, no matter how dark the days.

        • 1.1.1.2

          Helen, that sounds yummy, but keep the bird away from it! I hope the kids enjoy having him today.

  2. 2
    Helen says:

    Cassondra

    Lovely post it has been so hot here we have been putting the air con on nearly everyday and it is on now we are heading into a heat wave with temperatures maybe hitting around the 40 C mark which is way too hot for me I love the cooler months and am always looking forward to them don’t get me wrong I do love summer if I am on holidays at the beach somewhere but I haven’t done that for a while. I like it when the days start to get shorter although we don’t get snow here and winter is mild compairded to yours but yep that is my favourite time of the year.

    I took my Christmas tree down today and packed all of it away till the end of this year when it will come out again.

    Stay warm and keep the lights on

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • 2.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Helen, I’ve never lived in a hot climate, but it must feel like a bit of relief when the days get shorter and cooler.

      It’s so strange to me that your Christmas is in summer. I’ve never been south of the equator, so that would be so much fun, to see the differences.

      Perhaps someday you’ll get to visit us!

      • 2.1.1
        Helen says:

        Cassondra

        I would love to visit The States and maybe one day have Christmas when it was cold I am so used to Christmas being so hot but I have to say this year it rained and was a bit cool and it was a bit strange but we had a great day.

        Have Fun
        Helen

  3. 3
    Jane says:

    Hi Cassondra,
    We experience the four seasons here, so I do notice the shifting of the seasons. I like snow, but not the cold weather. I also hate how it gets dark so early.

    • 3.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Ah, Jane, I love snow too!

      But it is that early dark that I dislike. I want the long days.

      Maybe there’s a reason behind it..the short, cold days, and the long, warm days….

      I dunno. I just prefer the warm ones.

  4. 4
    Kaelee says:

    I need sunshine. I don’t care what time of year it is I need sunshine. It’s been wonderful the past few days. The temperature has been around freezing but the sky has been blue and sunny.

    I really don’t like extreme heat or cold but I can live with the cold better than the heat. I’m aware of the seasons and enjoy all the changes. I love to potter in my garden and miss it a lot in the winter. I try to get outside for a walk and fresh air to cheer me when it’s winter.

    • 4.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Kaelee, I need the sunshine too!

      What part of the world do you live in?

      I look at my garden right now and just shake my head.

      A few more months, and it will come to life again.

      Just a few more months. I keep telling myself that. ;0)

      • 4.1.1
        Kaelee says:

        I live in Calgary Alberta Canada. There is a joke that we have two seasons Winter and Stampede week. It’s not quite that bad but we have an average of only 112 frost free days a year. Add in the fact that I’m a bit more north than most , I get less light in the winter. Our sunrise was 8:40 and our sunset was 16:42 but we have a predawn light and twilight which is shorter in the winter and longer in the summer. When ever I’m further south, I can’t get over the fact that darkness comes so suddenly. Lots of people go to work in the dark and come home in the dark during the winter around here.

        • 4.1.1.1
          Cassondra says:

          Kaelee,

          Twice in my life I have seen the Northern Lights here in Kentucky. That’s WAY far south for those. But I bet you see them all the time, and I bet they’re fantastic.

          The two times I saw them, they were the most amazing thing I’d ever witnessed. We sat out on lawn chairs, huddled in our coats and blankets, and just watched the show. It’s probably nothing for you, but we thought it was awesome.

        • 4.1.1.2
          Kaelee says:

          Statistics Canada.
          Most Hours of Sunshine
          Calgary is the only major city in Canada averaging over 2400 hours of sun a year. Winnipeg, Regina and Saskatoon come close behind Calgary, all typically topping 2300 hours of sunshine annually.

          See I do know where to live for sunshine!

          • 4.1.1.2.1
            Kaelee says:

            There is too much light interference from the city lights for us to see the northern lights very often.
            However I’ve seen them a lot at my sister’s farm two hours north of here. I haven’y seen any colors but green but my sister has been lucky enough to see a few more colors mixed in.

  5. 5

    Cassondra –
    I do so love your posts. I too am one that needs the light. I don’t do tanning beds, but I have a couple natural light lamps and I keep them lit near me on the dreary winter days. One of the things I appreciate about the holidays is how the Christmas lights brighten the long dark. People keep their Christmas lights up till close to the end of January here and I’m ever so grateful for that.

    I’ll probably take the tree down next weekend (not this weekend). I love the look of the tree, but it comes down more as an ode to the new year – starting over fresh and clear.

    Oh, and yes, we have skylights because I want to capture all the light I can.

    • 5.1

      Forgot to mention that I also force bulbs throughout January and February. I have some purple Hyacinths just starting to open, flooding the house with that Spring smell. It’s a reminder that the snow will pass and spring will come.

      • 5.1.1
        Cassondra says:

        OMGosh. Hyacinths. There is no better fragrance in the entire world.

        I am envious.

    • 5.2
      Cassondra says:

      Donna, I love it that y’all keep your lights up longer. Down here people take them down (or turn them off) the day after Christmas.

      I’m like, “Oh, COME ON! Give us some time to cruise the neighborhoods!”

      Not.

      One of my friends was with us when we were driving around a few years ago on January 3rd. She saw some lights and said, “Christmas is OVER! Take your Christmas lights DOWN!.”

      I just looked at her and raised one eyebrow.

      I like having the lights up for a while.

      Gaylord Opryland keeps theirs up until the end of January, mostly so everybody gets a chance to get out and see them.

      Or so they say.

      I personally think it’s cuz they keep them up through the bleak midwinter, and they come down just about Groundhog Day. ;0)

      • 5.2.1

        I think one of the reasons they stay on so late here is that it’s a pain to take them down in cold weather and January is always the coldest month. Most are set on a timer so people just forget about them…at least until they get their electric bill :-)

  6. 6
    Deb says:

    Hi, Cassondra…I’m Deb and I have a nightlight in my bedroom, a nightlight in the hallway, and a light under the kitchen cupboard comes on about 5 p.m. every day. I cannot stand to sleep in total darkness. Darned DH hid the nightlight one time and I tore every drawer apart in his dresser until I found it hidden in a sock. Hmmph.

    I would have loved to have kept my Christmas tree up until this weekend, but Darned DH is Bah humbug about it coming down on January 1st. (Note to self: Find a topiary and string lights on it for all year.) I did put an artificial wreath with pinecone lights on it in the corner of the living room for the next few months.

    I also do not have curtains on my front window; I have blinds, but we will look for drapes, I think, this summer.

    I don’t usually visit the tanning salon in winter until March and only do it 3 times or so before putting shorts on for the summer….

    Winter doesn’t bother me, so I don’t look at it as being dreary. But, on cold days, a cup of hot chocolate and a good book with a blanket wrapped around help to make everything cozy. AND LIGHT. Gotta even have a nightlight! :)

    • 6.1
      Cassondra says:

      Hi Deb.

      I LOVE your nightlight solution.

      And your wreath sounds lovely.

      I was at an antique store recently and saw this little string of lights. They were the tiniest lights you’ve ever seen. And she had them strung along the mantel. I want those. It would be like Christmas cheer the whole year round!

    • 6.2
      Cassondra says:

      Oh, and I should say…the hot chocolate and the blanket..I’m SO into that.

      Give me hot chocolate, a blanket, and a nice movie with a happy ending, and I could get the warm fuzzies.

      • 6.2.1

        For the HEA movie, I recommend Music & Lyrics, with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. It came out a few years back and quickly vanished. He is an 80s pop star whose career has dwindled to performing at reunions and county fairs. She is a weight loss consultant who has a way with words. They meet when she fills in for his regular plant-watering person.

        He has a chance to write a new song for a mega-pop star, but he needs a lyricist. I don’t want to spoil it by saying how, but they end up working together and, of course, falling in love.

        I don’t have your knowledge of the music business, which might change my impressions, but I loved this movie, and the ending is great.

  7. 7
    Cassondra says:

    Okay y’all. I’m going to get a bit of sleep.

    I’ll see all of you in the morning.

    In the meantime, Sven has hot toddies at the bar. Drink your fill, party hard, and sleep well until I get back.

  8. 8

    Cassondra, what a beautiful piece! As you know, we’re opposite to you so the days here are starting to get shorter. Not that you’d notice. The birds still start shrieking their lungs out around 4am! We don’t get anything like the eternal sunrise/sunset feel that people in the far south or far north do. I remember when I lived in England after about half of my first winter, I had to fly somewhere with sun. I couldn’t bear living in the dark any longer. A couple of hours of daylight and even that usually darkened by clouds? No way, Jose! So I went to the Canary Islands which are right on the Equator and don’t actually have seasons. Still remember how that sun envigorated me ready to go back and finish the miserable English winter.

    • 8.1
      Cassondra says:

      Anna, I’ve been to England only in the summer, and still remember that when we went around Scotland, I could’ve easily read a newspaper standing out in the darkness on a deserted highway. It was strange, having that much light.

      And I knew right then, that the opposite, hardly ANY light in the winter, would do me in.

      When I was there, of course it cost us a fortune (by a student’s measure) to fly to England and stay there for the summer. But I was astonished that people from the UK could fly to FLORIDA for hardly any money. Tickets were cheap, and the process was so easy! Now that I think of it, they probably all go to South Florida as often as possible in the winter, to keep from getting depressed!

      • 8.1.1
        pjpuppymom says:

        A lot of them do go to Florida. When I lived in Sarasota, at least 1/4 of our winter customers at the bank were from Europe, primarily England and Germany. Can’t say that I blame them.

        • 8.1.1.1
          Cassondra says:

          PJ, I don’t either. I would need to get to the sun if it were that dark for that long.

  9. 9
    Fedora says:

    What a beautiful post, Cassondra. I do love the light, and yes, part of how I note the seasons is the changing of the light and how much or how little we get… Thankfully we live on the West Coast, and it does tend to be pretty sunny… I would find it hard to live where it gets and stays dark so much during the winter… I love your sense of connection to your dad through the light, too :)

    • 9.1
      Cassondra says:

      Hi Fedora,

      I’ve spent very little time on the West Coast, but that whole, “it never rains in Southern California” thing…I probably couldn’t take THAT, either. But if it rains, I want it to rain for a bit, then clear off. Lately, the winters here have tended to turn gray and stay gray straight through.

      Today, however, it’s bright and sunny, with that pale blue-white winter sky, so I’m back at my “desk” (my kitchen table) looking out at the bright Nandina berries, and the cheerful yellow ribbon spinner that I have on one of the plant hooks. It has cheesy little sparklies that flash in the sun as the wind moves it about.

      One thing about Kentucky in the winter….there’s not much color to be had. Very dreary.

  10. 10
    Mary Preston says:

    I feel the shift into Summer – I usually mark it with “We’re in for a long, hot Summer this year.” Not wrong this year. It’s sweltering here today. More light & sun than is good for anybody.

    I also feel the shift from Summer into Autumn. Those first few crisp mornings that herald my favourite time of the year. I love this shift that tells me the worst of the heat is over.

    • 10.1
      Cassondra says:

      Mary, that shift into Autumn used to be my favorite time of year. I think I’ve shifted to loving summer more because, mainly of that need for light to keep me cheerful. It doesn’t take many short days to make me get morose and glum.

  11. 11
    Barb says:

    Hi Cassondra

    I have lived in both hemisphere it is getting toward half my life in the northern and half in the southern lol….. I have been in Australia almost 35 years and I still would rather a cold Christmas ….. we don’t get the long nights down here it is dark by 8.30 even in the middle of summer… as Helen says it is hot today and we need the air con on…. I like when the weather gets a bit cooler….in winter if it goes down to 0c at night it will at least go up to about 16-18c in the day not like in the UK when it stays 0c all day all

    • 11.1
      Cassondra says:

      Barb it’s been only in the 30s Fahrenheit here in Kentucky since Christmas Eve.

      I’m ready for a warm spell.

      NOW, though, if it does warm up and stay warm, with the days getting a bit longer, my bulbs will pop up WAY too early. Don’t want that, either.

  12. 12
    Anna Sugden says:

    Lovely post, Cassondra. I’m a lightaholic/sun baby too and hate the long, dark days of winter. Though, come mid-summer, I’ll be cursing the bright sunshine at 4am! We built a conservatory to be able to sit in the light and draw light into the house even during the dullest days.

    I love having distinct seasons, but also love having distinct day times – it’s light in the morning when I wake up and dark when I go to sleep.

    We have a very strict tradition over here that Christmas lights must be down for twelfth night or it brings bad luck to the house. So they’ll be down this weekend and I’ll miss them. *sigh*.

    • 12.1
      Cassondra says:

      You know, Anna, I saw the fewest Christmas lights this year that I’ve ever seen at any Christmas in my life. I commented to Steve and he said there were some gangs of people about, targeting houses that had up Christmas lights. I hadn’t heard that, but I guess it could deter folks. Makes me aggravated though. They’re so lovely to look at, and so cheerful when it’s bright and cold. I really do think it should become the thing to leave them up all through January.

  13. 13
    Deb Marlowe says:

    I’m with you Cassondra! I have tiny, minimalist curtains on all of my windows–let in the light! It’s easier to do that out here in the boonies!

    I’d like to visit the Northwest, but I know I would never make it there. I’d be a driveling mess. For me, December is the worst part. Dark soooo early and it’s just begun. At least now I know we are moving closer to early mornings and long, lighted evenings!

    • 13.1
      Cassondra says:

      Deb that is EXACTLY the way I feel. I have never wanted to live in the deep south, but the Gulf Coast is looking better to me, I have to say. I never understood wanting to leave home for the winter and go south, but I’m shifting as I get older. I could be a snowbird, I think, as long as I’m home in time to see my crocus in bloom.

  14. 14
    Amy Conley says:

    I HATE winter. I too spend more time in the tanning bed. I also have SADD. The entire month of Feb is, for me, a waste of a month. Bears have the right idea, they sleep through these cold, dark days. Why can’t we be more like bears?

    • 14.1
      Cassondra says:

      You know, Amy, speaking of sleeping longer. I get to the point that I sort of don’t want to get out of bed in midwinter. I have to trick myself. Part of what inspired the post is that all this week I’ve been waking up fairly early in the morning, because Steve is leaving for work just after 5 in the morning. I hear him let the dogs out and grind the coffee beans some mornings, and then I look out the window. If it’s gray I want to just roll over and pull the covers over my head.

      When I start feeling that way, I know it’s time for a ten-minute trip in the tanning bed. I cover up my face, and I honestly hate the things, but I feel better after I go.

  15. 15
    Janga says:

    Lovely post, Cassandra, as usual.

    We took our tree down and packed the decorations away Wednesday. All that’s left is a basket of bright poinsettias.

    I like having four distinct seasons and appreciate the distinct beauties of each. I love spring, which is early and glorious in central Georgia, but October is my favorite month because it generally brings blue skies and cooler temperatures. I mind early nightfall less now that I work from home, but I do hate gray, winter days. My weapons against them are lots of candles and fresh flowers. It’s amazing how much a group of lighted candles and a vase of tulips can lift my spirit.

    • 15.1
      Cassondra says:

      Oh, tulips are one of my absolute favorites.

      You know, I’ve been eyeing the bunches of flowers at the grocery store entrance. I may have to grab one of those for the kitchen counter. What a wonderful idea!

      No tulips yet, that I’ve seen, but even some bright daisies or mini carnations would give a lift.

  16. 16

    ahem…I am Suz and I avoid the light.

    While I do enjoy the summer light and warmth (for about an hour a day), I tend to squint in daylight, wear dark sunglasses and look forward to fall and the short days.

    One of the reasons I go home to Ohio in the fall is for the cooler weather, the shorter days AND the dreary rain. My soul misses those days. We might have one or two of those in a fall. (storms tend to blow right through Texas). So I go home and pray for rainy, damp, dark days for most of my visit…don’t tell my mom or Donna, ok?

    • 16.1
      Cassondra says:

      Ha! Suz, I want those things in summer too. I like the warm summer rain. I like walking in it, I love the thunderstorms, I just love rain.

      In the summer.

      Not in the winter when it’s cold. But I don’t think you get THAT cold for very long down there, do you?

      While I don’t want to live too far north, I also don’t want to live too far south, I don’t think. That Texas heat in the summer…hot and dry….I would not love that, and would probably go home to Ohio too!

      In the summer. *grin*

  17. 17
    Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

    Sister of my heart, I can relate although the temperatures suit me better in the winter I have a constant battle with depression in the winter season.

    I start my battle to hold against the darkness around the end of August, every year…it started when I was around 17, or that is when I first noticed.
    In 1969 I graduated from high school, I lost my grandmother in August, my father in November and my most beloved of cousins December. And so the battle began.

    Do you notice the shifting of the seasons?
    I feel the heaviness in my very soul and struggle until mid Spring.

    What changes for you with the increasing darkness, or the increasing light?
    Do you ever feel connected to something larger, something old, as the seasons pass?
    I even notice the difference in my reading habits, I am pretty much a historical romance reader but……in this season I edge to the paranormals, any era.

    How do you cheer yourself in the dark, cold days of winter?
    I don’t really cheer myself, I just hang on with both hands and get through it and try not to be ugly to anybody.

    Or do you enjoy the relief from the heat?
    I do like the cold temps but the mental discomfort wears on me.

    • 17.1
      Cassondra says:

      Dianna, we are, indeed, much alike in this.

      I really do need a trip to Florida each winter. Late January would be a great time for that. I have a dream of owning a place on the water in the south, where it’s bright and sunny–a place to escape to in the dreary times.

      I did not have a stretch of loss at one time the way you did, but that surely would do it…setting a pattern of dread going into the winter.

      My husband, Steve, was nice enough to wash the window by where I sit just before Christmas during one of the warm spells we had. We started to do all the windows but got interrupted (they all need it–they’re horribly dirty) and he wouldn’t stop until he’d done at least my window, because he knows I need the bright light.

      Even so, by late January I’ll be getting itchy, needing to see something green.

      You and I, we are candidates to move south, aren’t we? I just can’t bring myself to not have seasons. Which sounds contradictory. That’s me. A walking contradiction.

  18. 18

    Cassondra, what a beautiful post!

    Our Christmas tree is still up, but it stopped drawing water a few days ago and is beginning to look forlorn. I think it’s coming down tomorrow. When I was single, I once left mine up until Valentine’s Day, though. It was very brittle when we took it down.

    When we’re sweltering in our hot, muggy summers, I look forward to winter, but I tolerate heat much better than I do cold.

    I don’t spend a lot of time outdoors, so I think I notice the shifts of darkness and light less than I used to. Still, I enjoy watching the days get longer, and I like the long summer evenings.

    When we were in Scotland, 13 years ago now, at Hawes Inn in South Queensferry, we could look across the Forth estuary t 10 pm and see the houses of North Queensferry, and that was very cool. We were so much farther north there that the day stretched out.

    We have four distinct seasons. That’s one thing the dh likes about living here. Growing up in the Colorado Front Range, he had a long winter, a medium summer, and eye-blink springs and falls.

    • 18.1
      Cassondra says:

      Nancy, I thought that was very strange when I was in Scotland–that it never got completely dark. But I could not take the opposite side of it– never getting very light for long in the daytime in winter.

      And when I see gorgeous mountain views from where my friends live in Wyoming or Colorado, and they say, “y’all should move out here,” I say, “your summer lasts two days. I would be suicidal. Ain’t gonna happen.”

  19. 19
    Connie Fischer says:

    Yes, oh yes! Light is MAJOR in my life. I spent most of my life in Virginia hating each and every cold winter day. I had to have lots of light around me. Now, I’m retired to my beloved Florida surrounded by palm trees, beautiful, sunny day, warm weather and happiness coming out of my ears. When I was a little girl and heard there was a place without winter, I vowed to live there one day. Here I am and I love it. I do NOT like cold, damp, snowy weather. I don’t care about the seasons. Send me a postcard. I will take the one season here. Perpetual summer with a bit of spring thrown in for good measure.

    OK. Off my soapbox and slinking away…..

    • 19.1

      Connie, you said I don’t care about the seasons. Send me a postcard.

      That’s a great line! Having been to Florida in the winter, I can totally see the appeal.

    • 19.2
      Cassondra says:

      Connie, much as I hate to say it, I may get there one day, myself. The thing I would miss about the seasons is the beautiful flowers that need cold weather. The tulips and crocuses and hyacinths and such. I am SUCH a plant lover and gardener that I don’t know if I will ever be able to give that up, but with each winter, I shift a little more toward the “move south” side of things.

  20. 20
    Louisa says:

    The GR has the right idea! Go for the warmth! Keep those sweet treats away from him, Helen!

    What a gorgeous post, Cassondra!

    I’ve lived all over the world, but I have spent a large portion of my life in the South. Winter definitely gets me down. I love long days of light and a little heat doesn’t bother me at all. The thing that makes me crazy is working indoors all day long. Spending 9 or more hours a day under florescent lights does NOT help cheer me up.

    Because my property is so far out in the country I do get to enjoy some beautiful sunrises and sunsets and I can see the stars so clearly at night. Even when I spend hours at my computer writing I can still get up and go out onto my back porch and hear the wind through the trees and get a little sunlight fix.

    The small Christmas tree on my television hutch stays up all year. Yep, I am one of THOSE people. However, I don’t turn on the lights after Twelfth Night and they stay off until the day after Thanksgiving.

    I must admit I LOVED California the two years I visited for RWA (San Francisco and Anaheim.) I loved the weather and had ZERO sinus trouble the entire time I was there.

    My favorite place to spend winter is Salzburg, Austria. It is like stepping back in time.

    My favorite place to spend late summer and early fall have to be England. Anywhere in England. Sigh. One of these days!

    • 20.1
      Cassondra says:

      Louisa, we are alike in many ways, but not that sinus thing. I have minor sinus issues now and then, but when I was in California, I could not breathe from the time I got off the plane until the time I got home. There is some kind of plant life there that affects me. Even in the bowels of the hotel, I could not breathe, no matter how much decongestant I took. I finally begged an advil cold and sinus (real pseudoephedrine) from Nancy so I could survive the five hour flight back home. I was afraid if I got on the plane that stopped up, my head would explode.

      I wish I knew what it was. Most people get BETTER when they go to the West Coast. I can’t breathe there at all.

  21. 21
    EC Spurlock says:

    I feel your pain, Cassondra. I grew up in New England where the days get even shorter in the winter due to the latitude. Add to that an old Victorian house with very poor lighting and it could get seriously depressing. My solution was to basically hibernate – I’d spend December and the beginning of January just eating and sleeping and reading. Then about mid-January I’d turn on my Dazor lamp and start painting again to prepare for my first show in February. That would jump-start my energy level.

    Here in Georgia it’s not so bad; there’s a little more daylight time, my roses bloom all winter and my irises and daffodils are already poking out shoots. I still get frustrated with the lack of light indoors, though, and that I only have about a 1-hour time window to do my photography for my Etsy shop – provided it’s not cloudy. Next house we move to, I demand more windows!! :-D

    • 21.1
      Cassondra says:

      I fell in love with this old house partly because of the windows. They’re HUGE, for an old house.

      I figure we’re two-three weeks behind you in the bulbs and such poking their heads out. It’ll still be too early, but that’s never stopped them before. It’s always interesting to me when I drive from here to Atlanta in either fall or spring. I get to see the progression–things are over and done here, almost done in Tennessee, then they’re still going in Georgia.

      In spring it’s opposite. Full tulip mania down there, daffodills in Tennessee, and nothing here.

  22. 22
    Diane Sallans says:

    I do much better with light too. When I had an extension put on the south side of my house I had them put bigger windows in. The may not be as energy economical, but I love the view. I haven’t put any curtains or shades up either (which I’m rethinking as that low winter sun hits me right in the eye sometimes – makes me shift in my seat to see the computer, book or tv).
    I’ve still got my Christmas tree up to and put on the pretty sparkly lights on in the late afternoon – it will probably be up til late January.

    • 22.1
      Cassondra says:

      Diane, I’m so glad I’m not the only one who keeps her tree up late. First, it takes a LOT of work to get the thing up and decorated. But it cheers me so much to look at it, that I just can’t take it down until there is at least a hint of the return of the light.

  23. 23
    catslady says:

    That was just lovely and so beautifully said. I have a niece that hates the dark and has plenty of windows in her house too. Although I like it when it gets dark early, I can’t say I mind it too much. Basically, I’m a night owl so I’m okay with it. I do look forward to spring though – it’s my favorite time of year when everything turns to green. I wouldn’t mind winter if I never had to travel in it or shovel it lol. Normally I keep my tree up for as long as I can (3 to 4 weeks) but this year we got ours late and the poor thing is raining needles so I am going to have to tackle it now and we only had it less than 2 weeks. I hate the bareness of it all when the decorations are put away. I am one of those people who actually like a cluttered house (much to most other people’s dismay lol). Oh, and our wedding anniversary is on the summer solstice so it was always a joke that we picked the longest day and shortest night!

    • 23.1
      Cassondra says:

      I think the solstice is a brilliant time to have a wedding!

      Ours is just past solstice, on the 25th of June. It worked out to be the only day we could make it happen that year, and the 21st wasn’t on a weekend, so none of my out-of-town family could’ve attended. So I chose the 25th instead. Close as I could get.

  24. 24
    catslady says:

    Well I should have proofread my writing – I meant to say “Although I don’t like..” hmmmm maybe I really do lol.

  25. 25
    pjpuppymom says:

    What a beautiful post, Cassondra. You never fail to speak to my soul.

    I like the change of seasons but abhor the short days. I need sun and when I go to work in the dark and return home in the dark it sucks the joy from my being. It’s 48 F. today but the sky is a gorgeous blue and the sun is shining brightly. I bundled up and sat on my back deck for a while, my face turned to the sun like an unfurling flower.

    I have lots of windows and skylights in my house. Can’t imagine living in a house devoid of light. It would shrivel my soul.

    I keep fresh flowers in the house all winter. It’s an easy way to boost my short days spirits!

    • 25.1
      Cassondra says:

      PJ! Another lightaholic!

      We had tiny windows on the back of the house when we bought it–the big windows were in the old part in front–but the back was built on later, done cheaply, and with itty bitty windows. First thing we did when we gutted the house was replace those little windows with great big ones.

      My husband said, “If you get that size window, the sink won’t be centered.” I said, “I don’t care. I want a big window.”

      I wouldn’t budge.

  26. 26
    Hellion says:

    My dad couldn’t drag my behind out of bed to help with a farm chore. He tried; it never took. Otherwise, yes, this story sounds exactly from my childhood.

    And yes, on December 22, I’m EXCITED because the days have already started getting longer again. There is nothing I hate more than nasty, humid, hot weather. I’m more a spring girl, myself. Rain, days long enough not to be depressing, not hot enough to die, not cold enough to be miserable…but yes, I hate from about mid-October to December 20th because the days are too short and depressing. But once it’s December 22, I tell everyone who says anything remotely weather or season related, “Days are getting longer. We’re one more day closer to spring.”

    I don’t leave my tree lights up though…and I actually hang dark curtains on my windows so I can sleep more efficiently. *LOL* So I’m very vampire like, but I prefer Spring the most.

    • 26.1
      Cassondra says:

      Hellion, I sense that you are another light-loving vampire like me.

      I’ve learned to sleep in the light though. With one caveat. I can’t GO TO SLEEP if it’s light. But it getting light out if I’m already asleep? Doesn’t phase me at all. I snooze right through it.

  27. 27
    Pat Cochran says:

    Each morning when I climb out of the bed,
    the first thing I do is spread the curtains
    wide and open the blinds! Thanks be for
    the light!

    Pat C.

    • 27.1
      Cassondra says:

      Amen Pat! This is why I don’t have curtains.

      We live about 100 yards up a hill from a narrow country road, and there’s nothing but fields in front or behind us, so I’ve just never felt the need for curtains except on the bathroom where I have shutters.

      That said, the people who used to live next door were an older lady and her daughter. She passed away recently and the house is being rented, so now there is a young man and his two little sons living there. I think I’ll have to get curtains or shutters or something, because they are so much more active and I don’t trust that they won’t wander into the yard. Also, there’s a house being built two fields over, so this area is going from uber-rural farmland to more of a residential area–at least on this side of the road. With way more kids running around. That says I’ll have to pay attention to who might see in my windows now.

  28. 28

    I don’t mind too much when the days start to get shorter but I’m ready for just a little more daylight. I get really tired of leaving for work in the dark and returning home in the dark. Although, I’ve already noticed that’s it’s a little lighter when I leave work every night.

    • 28.1
      Cassondra says:

      Christie, I’ve noticed it too. We’re not even a month out from solstice, and already the evening light lingers a little longer.

      It’s nice.

      And that’s one of the things I really hated most when I worked away from home–leaving in the dark and getting home in the dark. Ugh.