Yes I did have a spring in my step as we began this dank new week with an ice storm and I ventured out into the 5am freezing rain at this happ-happiest time of the year.

I get up so early because I am a ‘morning person’ (the only one) and the Metro starts running at 5 am and I want to be first on the train with my lunch bag filled with pb&j and nectarines, and my bright, eager expression, ready for opportunity and adventure.

But on THIS December Monday, the sparking ice-laden branches were undershadowed by an skating-rink glaze upon every walking surface. And my Metro stop is up a long hill from my door. Not a problem! Because I have a pair of ice-gripping devices I can put on over my shoes! How cool is that, in the non-fashionable sense of the word cool? They consist of long ¼ inch springs running this way and that along the soles, to thwart the evil intentions of a slope of ice. And up the shining hill I merrily clatter.

But there really IS reason for sproinginess in the land, as I am in the habit of reporting each year at this time. Because of the curvature of the earth and the wobblitude of space-time, the shortest afternoon of the year has already passed, BEFORE the actual shortest day of the year, and now sunsets will be a smidgeon later each and every day than they were the day before. The ice and the snow and the chill can continue to gather their nasty strength in the days ahead, but the light begins its return, and the seeds of returning long summer days have already begun to sprout their curlicues.