longest night

blue farmhouseUp before dawn I enjoy sitting at my picture window and watching the day arrive. Across the street the lights in my neighbor’s house come on as the family gets ready for the day. From my side window a set of headlights will suddenly stab through the dark as Dave leaves for work. Too soon my yard light comes on for those of us who have to leave early, though not really needed now with the snow on the ground. Gradually the panorama loses the blue hue of night as the brightness of day takes over. Even the clouds cannot completely mask the rising sun. Birds arrive at the feeder, and the ducks begin to squawk from their coop. Snow does not deter them and they are ready to explore. The sight of their footprints in the snow brings an unexpected joy to my life. Soon a rising column of smoke is visible across the field from another neighbor’s wood-stove, and I know my roof sports a similar plume as I open the door to add another log to the fire.

This is a season of expectation. As night comes early and is reluctant to leave, we know that soon its flow will ebb as the sun starts again on its climb through the heavens. Yes the cold has just begun. Winter’s icy fingers will continue to stretch out for another month or so, until they too are defeated by Old Sol’s rise. Just as a hot summer day does not immediately become a cool night, we have enjoyed the tempering of the long night by the retained heat of the earth, and now we wait expectantly for the hints of Spring to come.