WINTER & DARKNESS
JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group
12 December 2019
The wintry weather has begun in the good ol’ Northeast. We had our second minor snowstorm this week, and I was reminded how bright it can be outside with a fresh coat of snow on the ground. As the year creeps to an end, the days get shorter as the hours of darkness increase.
This change of weather was most notable to me when I had my first after-school job. I worked at a day care center just a few blocks from my high school from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Getting to work was no problem, I’d just take the ten-minute walk when I was dismissed. When the day care closed, I’d wait out front for my mother to pick me up. Some days she was on time. Most days she wasn’t. As I pondered walking the three miles home, I knew I had to dutifully wait. If she showed up and I wasn’t there, I wouldn’t want her to worry – I wasn’t in the best neighborhood after all.
For the spring, summer, and fall, the wait wasn’t terrible. I didn’t have a my own cell phone then; although, sometimes I snuck my dad’s Nokia 5110 from the top of the fridge in the morning to play Snake during this sometimes-hour-long patience practice and to get cool points from my peers. So, what did I do while I waited? I’d notice the placement of the sun. I’d ponder ways to get more cool points. I’d think about my homework. I’d watch the traffic at the pizzeria, at the diner, and at the convenience store, making up stories for the people I saw coming and going.
But when winter rolled around, it always got more interesting. It would be dark before I even began my wait outside. For a 16-year-old-girl in my predicament, the dark made the wait seem much longer and slightly more frightening. Is someone hiding in the bushes? Are those gang initiation rumors true? How long have I been waiting out here and why is it so cold?!?
Then the snow came …
And suddenly between the streetlights and the moon light, everything seemed a little bit brighter. The white (and sometimes grey or yellow) snow seemed to make the scene much less ominous. White isn’t a singular color, it’s the reflection of all colors. And when you’re standing outside waiting for long periods of time – merely observing – you truly understand that. The reflection on the white snow lights up every face you see and makes the bushes very difficult to surreptitiously hide behind.
Sure, snow is cold, it can be annoying, and it keeps the kids home from school. It may also be a pain in the rear (literally and figuratively) to shovel the stuff. And it’ll likely cause some change to your plans.
But the snow reminds us that even in the darkest hours, there can be light.