By Dave Coulter
Tomorrow will be the first official day of winter, and the days will start to lengthen again. We have been stuck in this gloomy damp funk for a couple of days now. I think I can understand a little better now how those pagans must have felt at the solstice. Surely they must have felt some joy at the prospect of more sunlight. They may not have understood the astronomy of it, but the connection between sunlight and life was unmistakable.
On Monday we went for a hike out at the Arboretum. There was a nice crowd of people there milling about. The sun was still shining as we did one small loop through the woods. Even though it was a most pleasant morning, it was still all around us. There weren't as many birds as you might think, but we did see three Blue Jays cavorting in the oak tops, working their way south towards open fields. It was almost as if the landscape was pausing, waiting for something. Or maybe I'm the one who is waiting. Waiting for Santa Claus? Waiting for light? Hanukkah began yesterday, yet one more festival of light in an otherwise dark season.
We need these lights to chase off the gloom. By chance a couple of weeks ago I was reading about the origin of the word gloaming. (A word familiar to many Cub fans, by the way) No surprisingly this is derived from the Old English glomung. And I have to think that the word gloom is a close cousin as well. Anyway gloaming is apparently a word that can be used either in the evening or in the morning. The past couple days have certainly given us an excuse to expand our vocabulary.
The forecast says this Christmas here in Chicago will be snow free. I hope the weather services are wrong, but even if that's our fate I will - like a moth in winter - head for the lights.
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