The Darkest of Nights

I dislike darkness.

Sort of.

Those who know me well would say, “But Christin, you’re notorious for walking around Carlisle in the middle of the night!”
And that’s true. I LOVE Carlisle at night. There’s something very special about sitting in the square after midnight, when all is still and quiet, and the streetlights cast an ethereal warm glow across Hanover and High.

I never venture down the darker streets, where lights are few and far between. The block of West Pomfret St. between Pitt and West, where I used to live, was a dark block – no streetlights at all – and few lighted houses.

The darkness frightens me.

Or, to be more precise, what lurks in the darkness frightens me.

That’s why the square is fine, while other streets aren’t.

It’s the LIGHT that makes the difference.

The longest, darkest night of the year is tonight.

It’s my least favorite day of the year, in my least favorite time of the year.

Winter bites.

It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s barren. IT MAKES ME SAD. And lord knows, I already have enough to be sad about this year.

But on this darkest, saddest night of the year, there is hope.

We know that this is the longest night, which means that tomorrow night won’t be as long, and the night after that will be a little shorter still.

It might only be in tiny increments, but the days WILL start getting longer again. The darkness won’t be as consuming as it is tonight. It’s one of those miniscule changes that, unless you really keep reminding yourself is happening, can be overlooked.

But it IS happening.

That’s the way hope can be sometimes, isn’t it?

It can sneak up on you in tiny, incremental ways, easily overlooked, until the changes are enough to be noticed without much effort.
We have to look for it. Search for it.

Fight to find it, if necessary.

And when we do find it, we have to keep reminding ourselves that it really IS happening.

That’s where I am right now.

Every year, I keep a jar that says, in paint, on the outside, “A Year of Good Things,” and every day, I slip at least one post it note into the jar, on which is written something, ANYTHING, good that happened that day. Even if it’s minuscule, there’s always something.

And in times like these past few weeks, when life has seemed at its darkest,  I can look at that jar and remember the light, the hope, that has threaded its way through the year, and that, like the sun, it will rise in the morning.

They say that without the darkness of the night, you can’t appreciate the light of day. I believe that’s true.

And the good things in life seem all the more wonderful when contrasted with the struggles.

The light needs the darkness, and the darkness the light.

So for tonight, as the world sits in darkness for the longest time this year, I’ll sit in the quiet, look at the stars, and be thankful for both the darkness and the light.

Peaceful solstice to you all….and to all, a very “good” night.


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