Let there be light...
There is nothing as beautiful as when the light returns after a long, dark winter. As quickly as the round-a-clock darkness descends in November, the light in the evenings return in February. Mornings too get brighter, and soon there will be no need for candles on the table as I drink my morning coffee. The sun comes out after a whole month of grey skies, and both Lulu the dog and I rejoice!
This winter was exceptionally dark, both figuratively and metaphorically. My youngest sons long covid insomnia was relentless, which meant we self-isolated throughout the darkest months so as not to bring in a new bout of covid and make it even worse. It was much like living the worst months of 2020 again and again, and even my good temper felt frayed at the edges. Sleep depravation is such a nasty form of torture, and watching your next-of-kin being tortured is its own kind of hell. Well meaning friends offering advice would be met with snarky replies to the tune of "Sleep masks? Such a great idea but actually I think homeopathic bath salts really are the thing that will heal his neurological condition." Not my finest hour, I admit, but then my girlie Maria and I would call each other and say "...well, otherwise it's all really great!" and laugh because obviously it had been a crappy week. Coming to terms with a long-term illness for which there is no known cure is not the easiest thing.
Still, the light is returning and so is my better mood. In the face of things I can do nothing about I try to think about those things I can affect and those that I am grateful for. At least we live on a farm and not in a town, and the quiet and remoteness is a blessing. I walk about the gardens and think of projects for the coming spring, and see that there are plenty. Big branches have come down and shrubs taken a beating during the winter storms and heavy snowfall, and as the ground clears of snow I start to slowly make my way through clearing the debris. I enjoy the soft light of February sunshine, and marvel at the pastell hues as I work, stopping every now and then to take pictures. An old shed is converted to a second chicken coop, and I get in touch with breeders of special chicken breeds to import eggs for hatching in March. "It's important to have things to look forwards to," I tell Maria, "and it actually was one of the New Years resolutions I intend to keep!" She just laughs, and says it's lucky I don't have a boyfriend who could have opinions on the matter of how many chicken I actually have.
That then is the silver lining of this dark winter. I am for once in my life perfectly happy being single. It is actually much easier to not have to compromise when in a difficult situation. There has been no one here who might say I molly-coddle my son or that we are being too careful with his health, and as a bonus I have learned that I actually manage really well on my own. I change the outdoor lightbulbs myself in the middle of winter, build my own coops and get through stuff. In a funny way it has made me feel better about myself and validated my independence. So, as we slowly edge into spring I no longer feel a need to accommodate outdated stereotypes and instead look forward to fulfilling as many crazy garden projects as I can muster. Hey, if it makes me happy then who really has the time to care about what others think?!