The sky was more light than dark at 7:36 this morning, and a feeling of promise overcame me.

Purple skyEven when I walked outside to warm up the car in the cold and near-dark, I saw hues of purple and blue dawning to the east, and I knew we had turned a corner.

It’s 40 degrees in Michigan, balmy for winter, and while my little guy laments the lack of apparent winter, we rejoice in the possibility of warmth and light. We know spring is coming, even if it’s still months away. We know there is light after darkness. We can finally see.

At times we feel so alone it as though the dark permeates all the corners of our being. At other times, still, we are so full with friendships and lovers and people who care and care deeply, that we cannot even remember what it feels like to be alone.

All of this is illusion, of course. We are always alone, and always surrounded by love.

But what a difference a good conversation with a real friend can make.

An email arrived the other morning, from a long-ago friend, reawakening our connection. And I remembered the way it is to really talk, for long minutes, extending into the dark night, with someone who gets you. You know what that’s like? Creamy as melted chocolate and reassuring as a slow-waking morning.

People cling to the shadows of our lives, afraid to step into the light, afraid to be seen, afraid to get too close. For too close can become dangerously akin to hurt. When you’re close, you can feel disappointment and loss and regret and rejection.

Girls-toasting-marshmallows-000055581866_MediumOr you can feel love.

In the near-dawn, the sun barely blinks into my morning sky, but I know it is coming. I see the colors of awakening, and know that as I return from dropping off my eldest at the high school that the days are inching longer and the fingers of night are retreating into the shadows.

And I know that before long, we will gather around the fire pit in the backyard, while the kids jump on the trampoline and music plays from the patio speakers, and we will sit and talk and linger long into the night, warmed by the flames, warmed by the comfort of a small crowd of people you really like, warmed by the knowledge that one day merges into another and they all amount to the kind of life that allows us to savor the right-now.

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