The Gifts of Darkness

Darkness, with its drama, falls more quickly now that our days grow shorter. I used to dread this in-between time of year, after the leaves fell and before the snow arrives. It seemed so dreary and dank. The temperature plummets and cold weather sets in. However, a few years ago, I noticed if I got outside, especially early in the morning, I discovered the gifts of darkness.

Now, for some, it’s only in the winter that they get up when it is dark. And it can seem like the 3 F’s: fearsome, formidable, and freezing, are the only feelings that exist. I felt the same way until I started the habit of wandering early in the early morning to walk Mac Duff. And then myself. The weather feels cozy and warm as I bundle up and venture outside. Hint: mufflers are a big help here, for they warm the breath and cover the back of the neck. My little cone of light shows the way ahead as Duff’s dog tags jingle and my boots crunch along.

The phase of the moon also plays a big part in my journey and appreciation. The full moon appears to be almost day-like with its dazzling light. When the half moon, then quarter moons approach, they appear softer and gentler. The new moon brings true darkness, with its promise of a brighter tomorrow.

The air itself seems quiet, and sounds are muffled and soft. There are a few homes that are lit from the inside, but no one else is out and about. The Christmas lights on trees and nearby houses bring their own happiness and joy as they cast a soft light on the road ahead. Wrapped up in the magical world of my thoughts and feelings, I feel like a small boat out in the darkness, cruising uncharted territory. So different from the bright days of summer, where we would stop and chat with neighbors along the way.

As I look up, there are so many stars above me. Millions of stars twinkling and sparkling in the darkness. How fortunate we are to be in a place where nature can paint such a palette every night for us to enjoy. Each time I see the panorama of these bright points of light, I am reminded how small I am in the whole scheme of life. There’s also the fleeting thought to learn something about the constellations that passes through my awareness. And each time, I find myself content to identify the Big Dipper and the North Star. Being witness to the beauty and mystery of this season is enough, for this time will pass all too quickly. Darkness too has it gifts.

While the in-between time clamors for movement and exercise, it also is a time to slow down. Time to enjoy the inner parts of the world, both within myself and with others. It is a time for deep sharing and inner knowing among friends, for contemplation and musing about bigger things as I move along. Camping, skiing, and hiking are wonderful during the day, but laughter and friendship in the nighttime hours are precious.

I invite you to revel in the gifts of darkness. Merry Christmas!


  1. Becky on 12/19/2022 at 6:14 am

    Love your positivity Joan. I’ll keep this to read a few more times. Thank you for sharing your uplifting message!

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