Toward the Light

"In this strange season, when we are suspended between realization and expectation, may we be found honest about the darkness, more perceptive of the light."--Jack Boozer
This evening, working my way through a hefty To Do list, I step outside to go retrieve my laundry from the basement and am struck momentarily still and silent. It's quiet in my backyard, save for the muffled dripping of halfhearted rain onto cement and the steady whir of cars on Fell Street. It's mild enough out that I've left the kitchen door open while I putter around, mild enough that I'm almost tempted to sit here for a while, just breathing and listening, mild enough that I can barely fathom the true winter I'll be descending into when I land in Boston tomorrow evening. I feel calmer than I have in days.

This week took it out of me. Despite regular flashes of delight--sitting in the dark at Berkeley Rep on Thursday night, S's arm around my shoulder, tipsy on awe and affection; letting what was meant to be a brief stop at my friends' holiday party last night stretch into many hours of fun; et alia--the past seven days have been oddly heavy and exhausting. There's so much cause for levity and brightness these days, but those kids have had to rumble with a murky dimness that, like its literal dark-at-4.30-p.m. counterpart, acts like an unwelcome party guest, arriving much too early, staying much too long, getting embarrassingly drunk, and loudly singing show tunes. Terrible ones. Off-key.

So I was relieved when, there in my backyard, avoiding the laundry for a few moments, I realized that although tomorrow shaves away a few additional moments of daylight, bringing with it the biggest dose of literal darkness we need to deal with all year, come Tuesday we start to change course. Being unable to resist the Obvious Metaphor, I thought, OK, then. There's so much more light ahead. Go that way.

It's all too easy sometimes to be dragged down by the slings and arrows, especially when they seem to come at you (read: me) as if from one of those machines at a tennis club that automatically lobs ball after ball without stopping. What's harder, though critical if you're (read: I'm) to continue functioning like the generally lucky, happy, smiling human you are (read: well, you know the drill), is to let them hit you and then let them fall. Maybe sweep them into a neat little pile, maybe just kick them aside. Walk away from them. Put ice on the bruises. Bandage the places the arrows drew blood. Keep walking. Keep walking.

Enough of this wintry darkness. There's so much more light ahead. Go that way.