Facing the Long, Dark Ahead

“First we forgot where we planted those bulbs last year,
Then we forgot that we’d planted at all,
Then we forgot what plants are altogether,
And I blamed you for my freezing and forgetting and
The nights were long and cold and scary,
Can we live through February?”

– Dar Williams, February


On the first day of the new year, I stood in the living room of my empty house, unsure of what to do. So, I just stood.

The downstairs of my home is almost impossible to heat in the winter, and with the below freezing temperatures outside, I felt no warmer than if I stood in a walk-in. Even in my heavy robe, I was chilled completely through. My eyes, which sprang a serious leak a few hours earlier, still managed to sting. I thought about turning on lights. On plugging in the holiday decorations I’ve been reluctant to pack away. I considered filling the empty with sweet music from my turntable.

But I stood in the growing dark, in the chilled dusk. I suffocated in quiet.

We tend to embark on January 1st like we’ve stepped foot of foreign shores. But nothing has changed. That crashing reality catches up to some sooner than others. For myself, the eternal fatalist, I see no reason to feel differently today. The nightmares of 2017 are still with us. The dulcet lure of the holiday season is done, and tomorrow, everyone will proceed to their lives exactly as before.

For me, my lack of life will sit on my chest and remind me that I’m still the sinking ship. I’ve spent months trying to figure out where I need to focus my direction, but I floundered in the same place.

It’s my own fault.

I need too much. The reassurance of worth. The dependability of safety nets. Encouragement, compassion, comraderie, companionship… basically, I don’t want to feel alone. I don’t want to be invisible. It has been an unbearable smother.

The weather is so cold already, but the real stretch of winter is still ahead of me. January and February are brutal, and usually a struggle to endure. The cold isn’t just outside. I know how I would usually tackle the days ahead. But each year has proven to be a terminal disappointment. The highs are fewer, and farther between. The lows are so constant, they’ve become level ground.

I don’t know what this means for the year ahead. I sincerely want …more. I don’t want to be this cold, so often. I don’t want to need anything, from anyone. Because ultimately, even the best intentioned will drop you, sooner or later. People let you down. They let you go. The friends you have might only be the residue of moments you didn’t realize already ended.

And when you realize you’re really alone, you’ll find yourself facing February.

I hope I can find green beneath this gray…

I hope this spring finds you all brighter, and ready to grow. I hope you find everything it is you are looking for. You have my blessing. You have my love.

Go on.








2 Responses to “Facing the Long, Dark Ahead”

  1. You said it perfectly and eloquently, and I think far more people feel this way than not.

  2. I love the image of yourself as a sinking ship, floundering and unsure which direction to go.
    You’re a great writer. I don’t know what makes the lows so frequent that they’re level, and the highs so distant that they’re not even peaks in the horizon, but go on. Find a way to take this energy, this want, and make it in the moment.

    All the best.

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