Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Heads or Tails #127 -- light

Our brilliant Barb, the ringleader of the HoT gang, had a bright idea for this morning's Heads or Tails: We are to write about "light." It's February and, here in the American Midwest, light is merely a fading memory....

In Chicago, in February, it's dark when we get up in the morning; it's dark when we come home from work. The Sun continues to rise and set, because even Richard M. Daley's Chicago, seemingly exempt from so many other laws, is not exempt from the Laws of Nature -- but we in Chicago do not see the Sun during February, except in brief glimpses. The Sun is generally hidden by a thick layer of gloomy clouds.

The Christmas lights that brightened our spirits just a couple of months ago are all gone now -- not taken down, perhaps, but no longer lit. There were Valentine's decorations -- a red heart here or there -- but these had minimal effect.

Light is something that comes from a headlight, or a streetlight, or from the TV set, tuned to any channel that offers escape. There's snow on the ground but the temperature is starting to creep up a bit during the day. Some solar radiation penetrates the clouds. With the heat and friction from passing cars and pedestrians, just enough snow melts to turn all the ice and snow to shades from dingy gray to coal black.

Lent is appropriately timed in Chicago, at least this year. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday -- the beginning of 40 days of penitence and fasting. And, regardless of whether you believe in any other Reward, our earthly reward for these sacrifices will be April -- when we will see light again, even on the trips to and from work.

It is better, we're told, to light one candle than to curse the darkness. And always remember, you do not make your own candle shine brighter by blowing out the other fellow's. But T.S. Eliot didn't know what he was talking about: February, not April, is the cruelest month.


Barb said...

Keep the faith... we will eventually see more than overcast days. In a month or so..

Unknown said...

It is pretty gray up here in Wisconsin too so I can commisserate some. Well written HoT, mine is up at the Cafe.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Good point..one candle makes all the difference.