Monday, December 19, 2011

In the Bleak Mid-Winter


Perhaps it isn't the bleak midwinter yet, given that winter doesn't even start for a couple more days, but it is bleak—dark in the mornings and dark in the afternoon. I am convinced that is why we love to festoon our homes with lights this time of year. Christmas, I suppose, has a lot to do with it, but really I think it is a primitive yearning for light that gives those seasonal decorations their ability to so fill our eyes and hearts with such sensual joy.

The lack of winter light is the one thing that I do not love about our home in Oregon. I remember snow-covered, bitterly cold days in Idaho when the sun would shine so intensely that the whole world sparkled like crystals. You could breathe in shards of light and ice that crackled in your lungs. Perhaps it was not so bracing as I remember, but on dark, foggy days I remember those brilliant winter days with clarity and longing. So I light candles and sit in front of the Christmas tree and absorb what light I can.

We are taking the train to Tacoma tomorrow for a short getaway. Good food and a visit to the Glass Museum. Tonight I learned that there is an exhibit of Mexican Folk Art at the Art Museum. Could not be better. Puget Sound, glass, Mexican art—should reflect enough light to get us by through the Solstice.


  1. I agree Terry. I think that is why I could not leave the desert and move back to Seattle. However, an inversion has had us fogged in for 2 weeks, so the sun has been a rare visitor. Thanks for the tip about the exhibit at the museum. I hope we can get there on our trip over. Have a very Merry Christmas!

  2. You are so right about Idaho winters and sparkling snow. That memory still shines so brightly for me.

    Your trip to Tacoma sounds great. I love going to the Glass Museum and the Art Museum there. Enjoy!

  3. What a great vacation, I love the glass museum and mexican folk art

  4. Jessica G8:36 AM


    Your description of Idaho winters is 100% accurate. Even in our inverted, smoggy, grey Treasure Valley, we have a stretch of days where the sun comes out and makes everything glitter (when we have snow that is...). That is always my favorite part about skiing in Idaho; standing on top of a big white, glittery mountain with the sun shining bright.

  5. I'm heading to the Treasure Valley for Christmas and yes, it will be wonderful to breathe in glittery shards of light from an endless blue sky. Hopefully. It better not be cloudy over there too!

  6. Oh, now I'm missing my native Idaho, too. I wish I had never taken those cold, sunny days for granted--even though I was too young to know better.

  7. Oh, I LOVE this song. I love JT's version in particular and was especially pleased that we got to sing it in chorus this season so I've been singing it since September! You're right, it's a dark time and yet the warmth around us is there to find. You are always one of my bright candles!

  8. By the way, if you go to this link:

    and click on the little music note icon next to "purchase mp3 recording" you can hear the arrangement we've been singing. It's gorgeous. And you can assume we sound JUST like that!

  9. Wishing you a happy Solstice ( just think, the days will start getting longer and lighter now!) and a wonderful Christmas and New Year.