Darkness Falls

Darkness Falls

Literally, that is. It’s quarter to eight in the morning and we’ve only just attained the grey light of early dawn. Of course, overcast skies don’t help with that, but just as in the summer we wallow in the glorious light and the endless evenings, most of which seem to be spent around barbecues and on back decks, when winter settles in here, it sits down upon us like a broody hen, fluffing it’s feathers down around us, plopping us into darkness for these weeks on either side of the solstice.

While Patrick was really affected by the lack of light in winter — when we lived together we bought so many full-spectrum light bulbs that we used to joke about being investigated by the DEA for growing pot — the dark doesn’t make me blue. I like it. I’m not sure why … maybe it’s that because it’s dark and cold, because my garden is all asleep so I don’t feel like I should be outside doing something. I have time to write, time to think. Brood, but in the best way. When we lived in California, and I was feeling dislocated by the fact that instead of a writer I seemed to have become a corporate employee, I went to Paris alone, two years in a row, for Thanksgiving week.

I loved it, and part of what I loved was the dark and the cold. The coziness of shop lights shining onto streets dark early. The way that when you ducked into a restaurant or cafe the waiter would take your coat and you’d both comment cheerily on the cold before he’d seat you. That because it was dark, and cold, I could retreat in the evenings to the little flat I’d rented and really concentrate on my novel in a way that hadn’t seemed possible at home. It’s probably due to too much early exposure to Hemingway, but I loved my two little weeks in Paris garrets.

My stepmother Susan arrives today for the holiday, which suddenly seems to be upon us. We’re cooking for a crowd at Maryanne and Bill’s house — I’m doing the ham, Susan’s on biscuit-duty. It’s going to be weird without Patrick, but at least it will be weird for all of us together.

3 thoughts on “Darkness Falls

  1. Happy Thanksgiving, Charlotte! And here is a belated thank you to you for reminding me on your page that there is an Anne Lamott book I hadn’t read (*Little Blue Shoe*). I took it to read on an airplane to Florida last weekend for a memorial service for my dearly beloved great-aunt, whose passing marked a complete and very poignant turn in our family’s generational structure. The book was easy enough to read while flying(which makes me uneasy!) and most of all it made me laugh, and cry about many of the issues that going to the service brought up. Thanks for that, and good wishes for you to write your way through the dark winter.

  2. I’m glad to hear you’ll be having a big Thanksgiving – I can understand how it’s better for it to be weird and together then to be alone and have the feelings settling in. The darkness doesn’t bother me much, either, but affects E horribly – hmmm, how MANY sunlamps do we have by now? Have the best holiday you can!

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