I used to note the first day of winter as a marker of the long, cold and dark season ahead. Now I mark the first day after the solstice as the an opening to the light. In only a few weeks, even though the weather will be wintry, the days will be noticeably longer. This time of year, I walk on the sunny side of street and choose the middle of the day to be outside, in contrast to summer, when I walk in the morning or late afternoon on the shady side of the street. When I went out at midday for a long walk, the light was almost blindingly bright. The blazing sun seemed that much more of a treasure for the cold blustering wind and the shortness of the day. That the light was so clear and vivid seemed an apt reminder that going through periods of cold and dark can clear us for newly illuminated paths if we are only open to the sources of illumination — inside and out.