By Delinda McCann
Guest Blogger Delinda McCann is the popular author of M'Tk Sewer Rat, Power and Circumstance, Something About Maudie, and Janette. Full disclosure: she is also my mother.
A Grumpy Winter Proposal
Earlier this fall, a joke on Facebook circulated saying NASA predicted the sun would not shine for fifteen days between Nov. 15 and Nov. 29. It wasn’t particularly a funny joke. I live in Seattle. We are about the 48th parallel. We have cloud cover. The sun doesn’t shine for about three months this time of year.
The sun just doesn’t get that far above the horizon then the clouds move in. To make matters worse, hundred and fifty foot fir trees that do their best to block the sun in mid-summer surround me like prison walls. I know why early settlers wanted to cut them all down. Still, those trees breathe in CO2 and exhale oxygen. I will cope.
I understand in ways that people who live further south will never understand why people hang up lights to decorate during winter. I know many might like to argue that winter lights have a religious meaning. No. Winter lights are an act of desperation made by people who hate living in the dark all the time. I hung my Halloween lights, and they won’t come down until Lent. I’m adding more lights to the display.
To be sure, we have trolls who embrace the darkness, hunker down and spend three months of their lives being generally nasty until the sun comes back. They complain about their neighbor’s lights, street lights, shop lights and anything that threatens to awaken them from their dark mood.
Now, of course there are people who live further north, and I have great compassion for them. I once asked a friend who had trouble with winter darkness how she could tolerate living in Anchorage Alaska. She replied brightly, “Oh it snows and the snow reflects light, so it is really much brighter than Seattle.”
Ah, snow reflects light making what is available seem brighter. That is why more northerly regions are not barren wastes where the population routinely kills each other on January first.
We do have snowbirds, people who move south for four or five months of the year. Being a snowbird requires money. Even taking a two-week vacation mid-winter takes money. Not many of us do have that kind of time and money. People in earlier generations did embrace the snowbird life. I’m not certain that baby boomers will have the financial resources to do so.
So here we sit. Actually hubby should be hanging more lights. Today, we are seriously fogged in. I’ve warned my daughter from California to sit under the SAD light especially when it is foggy.
So who are these curmudgeons one hears about who live further south and complain about Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Valentine and Lent lights? Do they ever come north? Do they know that New York City is way south of Seattle? (Look at a globe.)
As I sit here wrapped in fog with every light in the house and those in the yard turned on, I have a grumpy proposal. You know the economy isn’t all that good for seniors and working people. I propose to satisfy the inner exhausted grump and save on the food bill by starting a new tradition. We will declare that all those who are offended by light displays during the dark months shall be required to wear a black headband. This way we can easily identify them. It is necessary to identify those who condemn the light starved because in my tradition we’ll celebrate Epiphany by eating everybody wearing black headbands.
Do I hear any questions, complaints or denial of the problems of light deprivation?
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