The shortest day

I had to get out. Right then.

There was no time to wait … literally.

It was 4 o’clock. It was going to be dark soon.

All that energy building up, and it wasn’t going to have anywhere to go.

I needed to stretch my legs, and I needed some fresh air.

On a normal Monday, we’d walk on a loop that takes us past a local museum. We call it Museum Monday, because we like alliteration.

But it had snowed, and apparently, the sidewalks were still covered, so we decided against it.

That was OK, because I had my exercise class that night — a chance to get the juices flowing with a bunch of people, even if it’s virtual.

But then the weekly text that usually includes the Zoom link and password for the class had a different message … canceled due to illness.

All that energy building up, and it wasn’t going to have anywhere to go.

I needed to stretch my legs, and I needed some fresh air.


Our house is on a loop, and there’s a series of regulars who pass our front windows: the little black dog we can’t see over the snow, the guy whose jog is more of a shuffle, the group of four kids who we joke are planning mayhem.

One day, they even had sticks. That has to mean trouble, right?

We don’t walk the loop very often, but with time running short and a lack of options, it was the best choice.

It was a chance to see the back side of the neighborhood — the house with the deck on stilts that always looks like it’s going to fall into an abyss, the Christmas lights, the sleds on the front lawn of the house with the sloping driveway.

We had guessed the loop was about four-tenths of a mile, and according to Suzi’s phone, our three loops were 1.3 miles. We normally walk closer to two miles in 40 minutes or so, but the 20 to 25 minutes was enough, since it was getting dark.

After all, it was the shortest day of the year.


When I heard about a vaccine being approved, I thought about baseball.

Because I’m that way.

I’ve been going to baseball games for more than 40 years, and if there were years other than this one I didn’t go to any, I can probably count them on one hand. The closest I came this year was walking through a park and passing a youth baseball game, with both the kids and adults wearing masks and everyone sitting at a safe distance.

So when I thought about a vaccine, I thought about baseball games, concerts, traveling … or anything from walking around the neighborhood to visiting family to hanging out with friends without constantly being on my guard or wondering how safe it is.

But then as soon as I let myself get encouraged, I had to harsh my own buzz.

Because I’m that way.

I’m in my 40s, healthy and not an essential worker, meaning I probably won’t get a vaccine until spring at the earliest. The New York Times has an interactive exercise where you can fill in some information and they tell you where you fall if you were in an imaginary line of 100 people in your state.

I’d be 90th in Massachusetts.

“The great irony of winter is that the moment darkness is greatest is also the moment light is about to return. Each year the winter solstice comes with the promise that the next day will be brighter.”

— “How We Survive Winter,” The New York Times

I’m not complaining. There should be a lot of people in front of me. Just in my immediate family, my in-laws and grandmother are in their 80s, my parents are in their late 60s and my dad’s sister is in her 70s. 

However, that doesn’t mean the next several months are going to be easy. The only choice, though, is to try and get through it until the days get brighter.


6 thoughts on “The shortest day

  1. Pingback: The year (mostly) gone by — 2020 – A Silly Place

  2. Great post! I’m that way, too. Chad is *especially* that way. Lots of positive moments of hope and wishful thinking, followed by a “but.” However, I’m really excited about the vaccine—even if I’m very much last in line. If it helps out the essential workers who need it most, I am here for it. Let’s go!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: The week gone by — Jan. 2* – A Silly Place

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