I have a new puppy and her name is Billie, she’s a small Munsterlander! She’s become our second child and a much-enjoyed sparkle in our eyes. She needs lots of exercise and long walks, so I’ve been walking the neighborhood daily. Late afternoons are the best time for me to take a break and get some fresh air, the paths are not too crowded, and I can feel some normalcy. Just after Thanksgiving, I was struck by how many holiday lights were already up, twinkling along fences, trimming homes, and illuminating trees. All I could think of was how hopeful it made me feel. Optimistic that we all will one day soon be able to hug our loved ones, physically bump into one another on the streets, and gather with friends and neighbors again.
Displaying or stringing of lights is a custom borrowed from pagan yule rituals celebrating the return of the sun's light as the days grow longer after the solstice—the addition of the evergreen trees symbolize the renewal continuance of life in dark times. I can think of no better representation of our current collective situation. The dazzling display of merriment in my neighborhood represents a defiant act against COVID 19 for the worldwide havoc it has caused. It fills my heart with renewed faith that we will get through this time, just as our ancestors weathered generations' obstacles and heartaches. The early appearance of bright and colorful holiday lights along my neighborhood streets not only light my path beyond dusk but warms me inside and provides a little kick in the backside to keep moving forward.
Next time you feel low or discouraged by the ways things are going, take a walk outside at dusk. I am willing to bet you will find all kinds of brilliant displays of immunity lighting your path. With every step, feel the faith from your neighbors that we are closer to what we all crave, human connection.