Averyt: Celebrating Light
The weather outside is frightful, or so goes the holiday refrain. I think it might be better to say, I can't see what the weather is like outside, because it's so gloomy and overcast. Dark December is, after all, a Vermont liability. That's one reason we delight in snow, it sparkles the landscape and brightens our spirits.
I think it's actually good cosmic planning to have the holidays stretch from late November through the end of December. Not only does this provide psychic energy and social chatter to sustain us during the sun's stingiest arc, but spending time in shopping malls provides welcoming light. It doesn't matter that it's artificial; it's light.
Sunshine, John Denver used to sing, "always makes me happy" and there's actually scientific evidence that sunshine - light - strongly affects our wellbeing. When a low pressure system moves in, the sun moves out producing a powerful drag on our moods as well as a pain in our knees and joints.
Winston Churchill, who often suffered bouts of depression, said "sunshine is my quest…" That same quest - to brighten our outlook as well as our day - is shared by millions afflicted with seasonal affective disorder. I keep my SAD light box right next to my computer and turn it on first thing in the morning before I even open my email.
We humans aren't the only ones in search of light either. A cat curls with contentment in the warmth of a sunbeam. A sunflower turns its face toward the light. Metaphorically as well as physically, the sun is the center of our universe. Light brightens our day, illumines our lives, lifts our spirits.
I think my holiday of choice at this time of the year is December 21st when we celebrate the first day of winter. The shortest day of the year is also the day light returns; when sunshine begins to smile on us just a bit longer and the days begin to stretch, marching toward summer.
There's a blog online that lists the top 100 songs celebrating sunlight in their title. Right near the top are several songs by the cultural gurus, the Beatles, who celebrate in harmony the wonder of sunshine. In her two-and-a-half year old wisdom, my granddaughter intuitively connects with their message and their music.
When I last visited her, we began each morning by climbing on the couch and opening the computer to listen to the Beatle classic, Good Day Sunshine. Together we welcomed the day crooning "I need to laugh, and when the sun is out I've got something I can laugh about. I feel good in a special way. I'm in love and it's a sunny day."
And that beats a lux light any day as a way to light up my life.