A month of light

I write this sitting on the sofa, roaring fire at my feet and fairy lights twinkling at me from the tree. The joy I feel at the pre-Christmas Christmas tree is evened out by a grumpy sigh on this side of the big day; my shoulders drop like the needles of my wilting Norway Spruce at the sad and sorry sight of tired old decorations, wrapping paper in recycling bins, and everything reverting to boring old normality.

This afternoon, A said how much he's looking forward to summer and I felt like the White Witch of Narnia telling him how long we would have to wait until the days grow lighter and the air turns warmer. Racking my brain for January, February and March highlights, I found there was little to look forward to in these long months ahead.

And so I made a decision: the tree has to go but the lights and the flowers stay. The Ilex berries, the hyacinth bulbs, a vast vase of eucalyptus - they are here till they drop - alongside fairy lights and candles and, of course, a crackling log fire.

Nine years ago we visited New York City for our wedding anniversary. It was bitterly cold and yet the city was alive; every tree wrapped in lights and every bar, cafe and restaurant lit up so invitingly. Coming home, I couldn't understand why we don't all follow their lead - Paris, too, for that matter - and keep the lights on a bit more during the dark winters. So this month, I'll be doing my bit to keep the home fires burning and a little light in the darkness.
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