The Christmas Village packed in it's boxes and away for another year. The Christmas tree is in the back yard, some of it's branches used to make mulch and a winter home for birds. It snowed last night, and it's getting to be squeaky-snow-under-your-boots cold tonight.
And it's dark. It's not the cold, so much, that makes winter icky for me--I say that because I have the blessing of a roof over my head that is comfortable in the winter (even if we are miserly with the heat). I adore the feeling of being outside in the winter, properly bundled up, listening to the quiet of the air when it's storming. Even better, I like coming in and getting cozy afterwards - tea and fuzzy socks and blankets (lots of those). One of my cats, a fuzzy tuxedo-type cat name Horatio, hates the winter but enjoys sleeping on my feet, so it works out for both of us. I dream big dreams about all the gardening I'm going to do (that never quite comes to fruition, but whatever - dreaming is about possibility), play video games and read books. There is no other season quite made for cuddling as winter.
There are, however, two things about winter I despise: driving (because it can be horribly dangerous, even with a good set of tires), and the dark. The darkness is the hardest for me.
I think it's not a coincidence that there are so many festivals/religious observances that celebrate light at this time of year. We celebrate Christmas, and while by no means do we have a "Griswold" scale light display, every room in the downstairs of the house is lit for the season, as well as the outside of the house. When it all comes down, the candles come out. I've got two lit now.
I also trade in the red/green/white combo of lights outside for just white. Most of the them come down, but I leave up my wreath and a spray of white lights in branches near my front door. They stay up until mid-winter, or a little while after, when the days are starting to get tolerably long again. The church next door has a Christmas tree lit in the front too, and that stays lit for a good chunk of the winter after the holiday and it makes me so happy to see it, especially towards the beginning of February, when winter starts to be a slog.
This is the time - this stretch from now until almost Valentine's Day, is when I need those lights most. Nothing glaring, nor even the frantic holly jolly displays of the Christmas season (which I love, from the sedate to the wildly overboard). The world is awash in light pollution, and I'm an avid sky watcher, so I savour a dark sky to watch the wonders of the heavens. Rather, I'm thinking of something softer--a little warmth on an otherwise cold winter night. A friendly bit of light bouncing magically off the snow, and a reminder of brighter days to come.
Until those brighter days, I'm here, under a wool blanket with Horatio sleeping on my feet, enjoying a little candle light. I hope you find your own brand of cozy this winter.