Sunday, November 23, 2008

winter twilight

I forget the shortness of these winter days until I look up from the chores and my work, startled by the dwindling light. Church and church school pass in a flourish of cold sunlight, then lunch passes without me taking a moment to sit in the chair near the bay window overlooking the harbor. 3:20 finds me raising the shade in my bedroom—the last hint of direct sunlight streams through the upper corner of the window above my bed. I close my eyes and face directly into the sun, letting the glow work its way through my eyelids. By 3:29 the sun sets lower than the ridge of nearby houses, and I pull the dusty shade back into place.

By 3:40 the light no longer falls on the harbor. Soon the peninsula on the other side of the harbor will flush with warm rose-tones.

Each day is filled with its regular concerns, getting children to school on time, practicing violin and viola, Madeleine’s Native American project, Brendan’s thank you notes for birthday gifts, making sure children eat well and dress warmly. I’ve yet to find the big bin of heavy winter clothes and the outdoor temperatures are astonishingly low for this time of year.

And we are learning the ins and outs of home-buying, home-wishing, house need. We found a good house, quite possibly the right house, and are pulling together resources, learning our way around. No one is sure if we will find our way soon enough—the sellers may pull the house from the market.

Two weeks of graduate work until the end of the quarter (at least 30 pages of writing, academic writing plus creative writing), with Christmas shopping imperative, and each child has missed a day of school in the past two weeks. Laundry piles up, Christmas treasures stack up, the advent calendars and candles and mittens are still somewhere in the attic. I spend my time researching mortgages, real estate, and how to keep my small part-time job.

I will cry the day I leave this window for the last time. I will cry if that day doesn’t come soon: we need more space.

But today my glimpse of sea is blue, darkening, and filled with boats, with a wee little bit of light. There—there comes the rose-pink lights of winter sunset, lining the trees and the curves of granite, and the roofs of the houses. Next the windows across the way will glimmer like squares of fire.

I’ve been tired and tense for days. I referee one more argument about lengths of turns and toy ownership rights…

A bath is poured. Madeleine’s project is moved to a desk in another room. The squares of fire across the way change to winter pink. Evening stars emerge. I turn off the reading lamp to watch the light for one more minute or two, before we hunker in for the dark hours. 4:35, sigh. Miles to go, this evening.

Next Sunday the Advent Lantern comes out of its case. Miles to go, before then.


Lara said...

I'm excited for you and your family buying a house, but I do love the space you have now. It's so warm and inviting. I did not enjoy the financial and practical part of buying a house - there are so many things that people just expect you to know, even though you've never done it before! But now that I'm moved in... it's all worth it. This is my space for being me and for sharing with others. It's wonderful.

meghan leigh said...

Darling, brilliant Denise. Your every blog is a meditation. I half expect to see the word "selah" at the end of every paragraph.

Thank you for coating my days in peace.

Barbara said...

I've been feeling the same as you - the early exit of sunlight catches me by surprise every evening with a feeling of "already??" But after reading your post, I have to be grateful - I get two hours more sunlight than you do - I won't complain anymore!