Many thanks to Kyle for reminding me on Facebook that I owe you all an adventure. I’m afraid that between the extra exertion required for a two-parter last week and the impending holiday that’s been walloping me about the head, I haven’t had much energy for blogging lately.
I had meant, last week, to launch us boldly into a Solstice-themed adventure named Lights Out, wherein we would be extra cautious about:
1. Not turning on lights in the day time.
2. Only having one or two lights on in the evenings (and only in rooms in which we’re actually spending time).
3. Turning out lights when we leave a room.
As with some of these adventures, this one may seem elementary to some of you — but not to me. I am horribly undisciplined about my use of electric lights. I always have been.
I come by it honestly, I guess. I remember how the woman who used to drive me home after a weekly church babysitting gig I had when I was twelve used to pick out our house on the street:
“Here we are,” she’d say with a spunky southern accent as we pulled up to the curb. “The lighthouse for the blind!” And sure enough, every week, every light in the house would be blazing.
So, Lights Out was supposed to be last week — a way not only to increase our self-restraint and reduce our energy consumption, but also to reacquaint ourselves with the peace and peculiar beauty of darkness at this, the very darkest time of year.
Notice how I said “was,” there. Yeah, I couldn’t do it. Not now, at least.
During the one day I gave it a serious go, I felt as if I was spending all my time walking around flipping off switches, only to have someone (sometimes me) walk into the darkened room a minute later and turn the light back on for some other reason. There are five of us. We have a small house. We move around in it a lot. It may actually save energy for us to keep the lights on, given how “off and on” they seem to be all the time.
A bigger issue, however, was caused by the mild bout of darkness sickness I get every year. Call it cabin fever or SAD or whatever — I just don’t do so well in the December darkness. It sits heavily on my soul to have to leave home before sunrise, to have the sun set on me before I can start the evening commute, and to have all the hours in between be so gray and dismal. (Thanks a lot, Michigan.)
I don’t really mind the cold of winter, or the snow and ice (and we get quite a bit of all three where we are). I do hate the darkness, though. And while electric lights can in no way take the place of warm sunshine, they’re much better than nothing.
Even one day (Who am I kidding? Half an evening, really.) of our yet unnumbered Lights Out adventure left me feeling so bleak that I decided to call the week a wash, shelve the Lights Out adventure until Spring (when I can do it properly), and move on to something more cheery.
What’s that, you ask? What could possibly be more cheery than choosing to forego the comfort of abundant electric lighting at the very dreariest time of year? Tune in tomorrow! (I’ll give you a hint, though: it involves Joseph, an angel, a sheep, the good Rev. Ken, several handfuls of red and green sprinkles, a lot of butter, a few friends and relations, and at least one boisterous rendition of “Deck the Halls.”)