The end is near

The longest night of the year on December 21, 2017 passed by in a flurry. Perhaps it had to do with my daughter’s Christmas break arrival from Austria or the pending holiday preparations. The tree was lit, the hallways decorated, food stocked and presents awaiting their grand entrance into my family’s world. The scurry and shuffle distracted me so much that I barely noticed how dark it was outside.

Used by permission from Joshua Sortino.

As a light-sensitive being, I am typically quite aware of how much light and darkness are present. As the holiday spirit settled into post-party limbo, I watched the light fall more slowly for the first time yesterday. It was tenuous and slight, a preview to the coming months of light that are to follow the year-end gloom. Normally, such revelations are reserved for the first week of February in which I sit upright, stare out my Central European window and exclaim: “Look. The sun!”

For years I have lived in cooler climes, in which the sun’s arch gyrates toward and away from the horizon. You may be asking yourself why I spend so much time thinking about such things. It is quite like thinking about air. It’s there. We need it. We have it. End of story.

But light has another meaning, the one that dwells within us whether we live at the equator or near the North Pole. It is the spirit that uplifts us and others in times of great darkness.

I have often said if you cannot see the light, then be the light. Light dances. But light is also necessary to cast shadows. Light cannot permeate everything. It can bounce off things. It can illuminate spaces. But it cannot shed itself on that which does not wish to be seen.

If there is one thing I have learned in life, it is that you cannot force the light onto others. They will block you, resist you, put blinders on so as not to see you. They will interpret your existence through their own glasses, whichever shade they may have.

As the end of 2017 draws near, I wish you and yours all the light this world has to offer. If we share the light, we are capable of illuminating everything as darkness recedes to the farthest corners, if not for just a little while.


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