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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Jan 10, 2014

Long ago when my age was expressed in single digits, I was afraid of the dark.

I was scared enough I would not look out a window into the dark for fear something truly scary would pop up in front of me.

It was one of those times when an active imagination is not in your best interest.

I also remember how pulling the covers over head at night made me feel safe, but it got stuffy under there so I braved sticking my head out so I could breathe.

Fortunately, I grew up, and my fear of the dark disappeared.

January is my least favorite month of the year because for 31 days it is not only cold, but dark.

Since the longest night of the year last December, we have gained 10 minutes of daylight so far according to the Naval Observatory.

The only thing you can say about that is at least it is going the other way.

And why would anyone observe navals?

But something else happened when instead of fearing the dark, as an adult I found comfort in the dark.

The addition to our home has large windows facing the south and west. There are no curtains on them, and we have no plans for curtains.

A neighbor of ours, who is widowed and lives by herself a few miles away, visited one afternoon and remarked on the curtain-free windows.

She said at the end of the day she pulls all her curtains shut as the dark makes her uncomfortable.

It reminded me of when I would pull the covers over my head as a way of feeling protected.

But now I find the dark enveloping like a large blanket and looking out the window I see things I do not see in the daylight, none of them scary.

For example, on a clear night the stars do not come out. They are there all the time; it is just the sunlight overpowers them.

Just think, instead of looking at objects miles away during the day, I am looking at stars millions of miles away at a time when people say you can’t see anything because it is too dark.

We can watch a lightning storm in the dark for excitement.

Unfortunately, a dark night in January is likely also a cold night which reduces the appreciation of outdoor events when one of the requirements is wearing heavy clothing.

Which does not make it any different than the day time.

When I am up during the night and walking from room to room, in the pocket of my bathrobe I keep a flashlight that uses one LED.

It was a giveaway item and is almost useless except in total darkness when it is invaluable in finding open doors and preventing me from bumping into heavy objects.

If it is not in my pocket, I will look for it and it reminds me that in times of darkness there is importance even in something seemingly small and insignificant.

My one LED flashlight could be of great use the next time I want to observe navals.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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