Last Sunday, we woke with our bodies’ natural rhythms, but the clocks said it was earlier than it felt. Then, the sun sank early. On Monday, when we left work for the day, it was night. Every morning this week, when my iPhone’s alarm rang, I’d hit snooze on a screen that was still in night shift. The internal clock waiting for sunrise. Leaving work, taking my phone out to call my wife, the screen already shone in night shift’s dull yellow light. Daylight long gone.
Then, on Friday, after a week of the night leaching into our moods, abruptly disrupting our post-work routines, we woke to the first snow. The roofs and yards in the same uniform white. The trees’ stripped branches balancing white ridges, like a stampede of Lake Michigan whitecaps suddenly stunned still. Nothing stuck in the road, for now, but the dog’s paws will have to be wiped. The shovels will have to be taken down.
Driving at noon on Friday, slant midday light fell through wind-knocked curtains of snow. Sheets of light. Some of the trees from which they were loosed were still gold leafed. Lawns had lost their late autumn dullness, now lambent with the sun sliding across them. For a moment, the street was a waking room, dawn spilling through sheer curtains.
On Tuesday, Americans summoned hope at the polls. On Wednesday night, one man with a gun killed twelve people, taking more life, his own included, than one man should ever be able to take. On Friday, California wildfires destroyed homes and killed forty people.
Our snow. Suddenly, rather than hazard, rather than chore, the snow felt like rapprochement. A quiet compromise. Our nights will become more stubborn, our days more truncated—but, how lucky: we plunged into winter’s night. Five days later, we were gifted some light.