The Solace of Nature

On a winter night.

Posted Dec 04, 2018

Patricia Prijatel
Source: Patricia Prijatel

The sun has to work especially hard on a cold evening, which makes its light feel that much warmer.

Light, of course, is all about perception, both physical and mental.

The physical mechanism is complex, with multiple pieces and parts that could go wrong, leading to images that are too dark, too bright, fuzzy, blurred, off-kilter, or completely gone.

A simple primer on how it works:  The iris controls the amount of light that enters our eye; the light then goes through the cornea into the lens, and down to the retina, which uses rods to send an electrical message to the brain through the optic nerve.  

That’s how the light gets in and to our brain. The physical part. The mental aspect is how we process the images that get to our brains.

We make mental notes about the meaning of what we see and place it into the context of our lives and our environment.

Light has a different meaning on a cold winter’s day, offering the hope of warmth and a memory of spring. It feels like the sun is putting more effort into our comfort, so the light in winter can feel more precious.  We see it less often, so a few rays can give us immense hope and joy.

We are molded by our crises, made into humans by the darkness and cold that we encounter. On a cold day, we give thanks for a warm coat and gloves, physical protection that keeps our bodies warm.

But the sight of the sun can do more than just keep our noses warm. It can show us that light can make its way through the clouds and, when it does, it is a remarkable blessing.

So, as you fight your darkness—cancer, depression, financial stress, family crises, the death of a loved one—remember that light is there beyond the clouds. It will break through. You will see it. You will find it. And it will be wonderful.