Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Searching for Light in a Dark Autumn

Finding a Path to Light in This
Darkest Autumn
Crimson and gold leaves lit my path through the New England cemetery I visited in October. Bright red beckoned me from the roadsides. I walked through fallen leaves, lifting them with the tips of my shoes and tossing them to clear my way.
Autumn in New England always signaled endings for me during the years I lived there. I’m far more comfortable with my Florida falls, which spark my senses with a taste of cooler, not cold, weather and signal beginnings to me—time to leave the house and enjoy the outdoors, time to open windows and leave air conditioning behind for a few short months.
After my years in the Northeast, when I returned to Florida, I was grateful to leave those shorter, darker days behind me. I continue to be soothed by the constant green of the leaf-filled trees and shrubs, and the ever-present flowers that give this state its name.
This autumn of 2016 in Florida has had few cool days to delight me. The heat continues with slight respites of below-90-degree days. They arrive in short bursts, strung together like beads from a broken string of pearls.
Today, the shortest, darkest day, I feel the dark envelope me, as it has since November 9. That dark is meshed into the fibers of my heart. Other emotions accompany that dark: fear, wariness, concern, heartbreak for the oppressed, whether that oppression stems from gender, color, ethnicity, economic status, spiritual beliefs . . .
I know that after today’s dark hours—complicated here in my Florida home by a sunless sky—mere minutes of light tack themselves onto these light-deprived hours. That extra light beckons me to the bottom of my personal Pandora’s box, where I find hope. I open the lid wide and release it. It does not dispel the maladies swarming our globe, but like that hint of light, hope illuminates a path in which I shall walk to alleviate my fears and make me less afraid of the dark.

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