The Longest Night

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.”  -Steve Martin


Tonight I backed out of the driveway to take my daughter to gymnastics at midnight. At least, it felt like midnight. It was actually only 5:45 pm, but the night was already black as midnight.

I know why there’s always a holiday around this time of year. Whether people are Jewish or Muslim or Christian or Pagan, there’s got to be something to look forward to in this darkness. I can imagine early people noticing the lengthening nights, wrapped in their mammoth skins and shaking their bone clubs at the inky sky, defying the dark by putting a happy holiday right there in the midst of it.

Okay, okay, so I know that’s not how it went, but I can imagine it how I want to, right?

December is always hard when it comes to this darkness, and only the distraction of overindulging your children with gifts they don’t need can keep your mind off the blackness of night. All month, when I notice the ever-darkening sky, I can’t help but count the days until the Winter Solstice hits on December 21 (or 22) when the days will stop getting darker earlier and the night will grow just a tiny bit lighter every day. Even if the difference is just three to seven seconds or so, that three seconds gives me hope. Just knowing the day is three seconds longer comforts me in the long nights. I can remember that in a month or so it’s going to be a whole two minutes longer, and before I know it, it’ll be light at 10 pm!

Last year, my children began a joke about me. We were in the car one summer evening around dusk, and one of them said, “Hey! Who’s this remind you of? ‘You guys! It’s 8:32 and it’s still light out!'” They all dissolved into laughter because they all knew who it was. It was me. Even the children know of my love for the light.

So now I will go and bury myself in a blanket and wish I could stay there until the nights are shorter than the days. See you in the summer, when I emerge!


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