brian

It’s a white January sun that doesn’t convey much heat, even on those unseasonably warm days. And on frigid ones like today, that white light seems to intensify the cold, not dissipate it as it should.

A white sun, hiding behind a screen of cloud cover — sometimes white like cotton, more frequently gray like dirty snow, sometimes turning to blue or black like a giant bruise in the sky — seems more an enemy than a friend.

Light is energy, because it’s fire. And light is time, because that’s how we measure the days. In January, as the temps drop and it still gets dark by 5 p.m., I feel betrayed by the light. Which is ridiculous. The light doesn’t care about me.

Under this white light I’ve been going through my paces, hitting my marks, checking things off the list. But like the sun that provides no warmth, it doesn’t feel like all this activity is getting me anywhere. But I do it anyway.

I didn’t know I had seasonal depression until I left Long Island when I was 18, trading those icy, dark winters for the mild Carnival months of Louisiana. In New Orleans, the sun is still yellow in January and February, and there are colored beads in the trees instead of icicles.

I didn’t need winter clothes again until I got to North Carolina, back under those smudgy, gray skies barely pierced by the white sun.

Here, now, the light brings me no warmth and time is working against me — January takes forever, and February lasts even longer. And I know by the time they’re over I will have lost more than I have gained.

So I don’t trust the light right now, and I’m wary of the darkness that descends so quickly each day. But sometimes, for just a few moments in between, the darkness and light collaborate to paint a brilliant sunset. Sometimes, it’s enough.

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