On Darkness, and Light

Longest light fixture in the USA, 350', 16-ton art-deco bronze chandelier in the US Post Office on 1st St in Minneapolis
Longest light fixture in the USA, 350′, 16-ton art-deco bronze chandelier in the US Post Office on 1st St in Minneapolis

We’ve just past the winter solstice, and it’s dark here, folks, in flyover country. Dark for 15 hours and 14 minutes of the last 24 AND overcast for our paltry remaining hours of “light.”

On the other hand, we have a second more daylight today than yesterday. And the art deco light fixture at the 1st St Post Office in downtown Minneapolis is, you have to admit, very cool. Even though I’ve been to said post office about a hundred times in the past week. And waited on long lines each visit. Still, the people behind the counter there are the nicest postal service workers I’ve ever met. One lady put my box in another box and saved me $5.00!

OK, so how the about Dunn Brothers on the corner of 3rd Ave S and 2nd St?


Let’s be real:  Dunn Bros is always part of the light, right? Even when you’ve got two Whole Foods bags on your arms and the photo you shoot is a little, well…off kilter. Even when the music they’re playing is “Christmas, Christmas Don’t Be Late” by Alvin and the Chipmunks and  you realize this was one of about five records your family owned when you were a kid and you mention this to the lovely barrista and she kinda looks at you like you’re kinda old.

Even so, the coffee was really good.

On Sunday we went skiing at Afton Alps and the “daylight” looked like this:

A rainy/snowy day at Afton Alps
A rainy/snowy day at Afton Alps

It was raining so hard we pulled over just before the entrance ramp to I-94 to discuss whether or not we should go. Because we’ve lived in Minnesota long enough to know it’s wise to find some way to enjoy being outside in the winter, we went. And guess what? The rain (mostly) turned to snow (OK, with a little sleet in between for half an hour or so) and the snow on the ground was beautiful, welcoming, forgiving, absolutely carve-able and entirely without the washboard (1/4″ of show over ice) effect of our last visit that sent me into paroxysms of pain for days and made me wonder if my downhill skiing days were over.

They’re not! How’s that for light?

The day before that, we went to see/hear The Messiah at St. Mary’s Basilica on Hennepin and 17th. I know, I know. I said I wasn’t going back. But look at this light!

Is this what makes a basilica?
Honoring Mary

I concentrated on the light: the music, of course, but also this beautiful statue of Mary, to whom my mother prayed, as a child, and to whom my novel-in-progress makes special tribute. My mother lives alone now that my father has passed. I call her every day. My novel isn’t done, but it’s well on its way. And while the Catholic Church has a lot of darkness to account for, the Pope says dogs can go to Heaven. Which is certainly no guarantee that people will go to Heaven, but some are clear shoo-ins.

Who knows what light awaits us?
Who knows what light awaits us?

Merry Christmas, Dad. Merry Christmas, Mom. Let’s all work on seeing the light, now and forever.




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