Lighting the Way

On our evening walk in the dark, we pass by a house where a couch, a love seat, and an ottoman have been sitting in the front yard for nearly two months now. Last night, in the rain, passing by the FREE sign that had fallen on the wet ground, I wondered, What’s the plan here?

These evenings, I often stop by the neighboring house. That small house on Winter Street was built for granite workers around 1900, like the house I bought instead. The Winter Street house was dirty and unkempt, the kitchen not really a kitchen; no one seemed to have cooked in that room for a very long time. The woman who bought that house fixed it up, room by room, but now that house appears to be empty again; I’m hoping she’s found true love and moved elsewhere.

From her free pile, I’ve taken little things — a patterned bowl, a small plate with a fish.

Post-Thanksgiving, I walk with my youngest, who imagines a post-Covid world when she’s ready for college and then wonders about her few high school years remaining. What will that look like?

She knows the future is utterly unknown. Post-holiday, we’re in watch-and-wait, partly to see how the virus surges or not, and partly to see how, collectively, how our behavior will unfold. As always, the kids are at the mercy of adult behavior, for good or for ill.

So, when I hear the governor on the radio yesterday urge Vermonters to light up these long early winter nights, I abandon my usual bah-humbug attitude of not running up the electric bill or burning more fuel.

There’s plenty of winter ahead. The plan might be as simple as day-by-day take a walk in the dark, through the mist and beneath a gauzy moon. Walking across our front yard last night, I remembered where I had planted crocuses and daffodils, that the blue squill will return next spring, that night always passes, too.

“I know how hard this pandemic has been, especially as we make our way through the holidays without the ‘normal’ get-togethers and sense of closeness we all want,” said Governor Scott. “So, in celebration of the coming holiday season, I think it’s time to lift our spirits. Let’s get creative and show the world that Vermonters are here for each other and that even through these dark and difficult times, Vermont Lights the Way…. I hope this effort will spread joy and hope, especially for our kids… there are brighter days ahead.”

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