Winter’s officially already here. Oh, I know the solstice isn’t for another three weeks. Technically, this is still autumn. But autumn’s gorgeous show is long over; the leaves have almost all fallen off the trees, and the remaining ones are dead yellows or browns. When the clouds clear up I can see snow on the North Shore mountains; even at ground level the temperature’s dipped below freezing for the last few nights.
It does make for pretty mornings, though, with frost on the ground sparkling in the sunlight. Good thing, because Vancouver winters are distinctly lacking in prettiness; not a lot of snow falls (at least, not in the lower mainland), so you don’t get lovely white landscapes like, say, in Ottawa. Here everything’s grey or brown and depressing. And let’s not forget the long nights, which are a lot darker that Ottawa’s because of the lack of snow. Then again, the clouds do reflect the urban lights more; so, yay for light pollution, but I’m not sure the dark orangey-red night sky is all that cheery.
But then, that’s what Christmas lights are for. I put mine up last night, for only the second year since I moved out West. Until last year I was never much into the holidays; I’ve always loathed the intense commercialism, and of course couldn’t get behind the religious traditions. But then I watched my TV boyfriend get all worked up about Chrismukkah… and damned if a completely made up uber-holiday didn’t sound perfect for me! So I went out and bought lights. And it feels good to see them shining out there. Maybe because part of me likes to participate in the season’s rituals, but mainly because… they’re bright. And having lights outside my place, shining through the night, is better than having nothing at all. That’s what it comes down to, right? Strip away the rituals and traditions, and it’s just about driving the night away, making your own light at a time of the year when light is in very short supply.