New Rhythm: Things We Do in Darkness

Now that it’s total darkness by 5 o’clock, we’re begun the night walks. This short window of comfortable chill and clear paths doesn’t last long. The kids with flashlights or headlamps, and me, blinded by them, walk our normal loop made magical by starlight, and a fattening moon. On Friday, when it’s full, we’ll climb a nearby mesa to howl at it with friends. The pack mentality makes all of us giddy and less cold, somehow.

In this special season of cookery and nonstop baking that I normally adore, our dishwasher has given up. And so now our evening routine must include some level of dishwashing, or else! The surprise has been how grounding and relaxing it is to wash dishes and hand them to a person you love to dry and put away. To teamwork a chore before heading into the next part of the day: settling. While I’ll be glad for a new installation (in only three weeks!), I am savoring this slow start to evening.

And a little earlier than usual, we’ve thrown LEGO over the living room floor. The kids settle in, sometimes with a popsicle, and play while we listen to an audiobook. George and I will sort or build as well, or sometimes I catch up on logging our homeschool week.

Other nights we all draw together, seated at a cleared table, taking turns playing music on the big speaker. It’s funny how each person’s choice changes the vibe. We’ll go from rap (Wilder) to emo (Rosetta) to classic rock (George) to dance (me), and then it all changes on the second round.

My least favorite evenings are my kids’ idea of perfection: TV dinners. Less chatter, facing a screen, but all of us are together. These happen more frequently when it’s dark, but I love it more when it’s also cold and there’s a fire burning. Sometimes there are video games instead, and I usually pore over a cookbook or craft book while they all yell at each other in the name of winning.

Movement-wise, I despise this season of indoorsy time. While we’re beginning this season of darkness, of restoration, of bolstered connection, I relax with all the books, all the tea, and all of the couch cuddles.

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