Above my roof, on the shortest night of the year, the gods were tearing the sky apart, almost as if to make a mockery of my blithe there’s-no-chance-of-an-apocalypse-today attitude. I curled deeper and deeper into my blanket, hoping against hope that my pager would not go off. No way did I want to ever consider heading out under that falling sky in my little hybrid tin can, though I knew I would if someone needed a nurse.
And the next morning, dawn came before I had to drive anywhere, and The People (me) rejoiced and sang songs of praise to all the families who did not need a nurse for the night. Glory be! I drove in light morning mist to an early morning patient visit, then to the office. By the time I had completed my odious paperwork and chatted up my not-at-all-odious co-workers, the sun was asserting its return, with a brilliant “take that!” attitude, shoving itself under the cloudbanks and pressing them toward the horizon.
On the bright drive homeward, all seemed well. As if the darkness never happened, as if those cracks of thunder didn’t bring a certain terror. As if my heart didn’t know rage, or fear, or deep pain. For those of us who have suffered depression, the darkness can be a terrifying time, for we do not know if we will find our way out of it. But the sunlight shone into my car window, warming my face, and the long night receded from my mind, just as the encroaching floodwater was receding from the roadway.
And just in case I wasn’t getting the metaphor, nature added her own italics to the “return of the light/passing of the flood” theme: she dropped a rainbow in my direct line of vision. I grew up with a good foundation in the old Bible stories; a rainbow always reminds me of a God making a covenant with the human who made it through, who had faith and survived. Okay, okay! I get it!
With that nudging from the sky, I decided to accept that I, too, can cycle out of the darkness. I can hope for good things. I can seek fulfillment instead of just coping. I forced only good thoughts about my ex, a feat of pure will, and it did, in fact, make me feel better. I decided that I can allow my inner best light to emerge, slowly, from all the dark thoughts I bury myself under. Thank you, light.
Today, the daylight hours are just a few moments longer, but the sun has disappeared again. Everything is soggy and I’m sad, a bit cranky. My best self is huddled up under an awning, waiting for the rain to let up before she crosses the street. But at least she’s out of the house, right?
May the light always return. May you feel the sunshine on your face, when you need it most.
Happy (late) Solstice.