Will Morrow (courtesy)

Will Morrow (courtesy)

Let there be lights!

When I stopped in at one of our local stores, I didn’t cringe when I saw all the holiday decorations on display.

I’m ready for some Christmas lights.

Normally, when stores start rolling out their Christmas decorations in early October, a little bit of the Scrooge in me comes out. I mean, there are rules, right? No pumpkin spice before we’ve had a frost, and Christmas lights should wait at least until we’re done with trick-or-treating.

For the record, I’m an advocate for putting out the Christmas lights over the first weekend of November. Also for the record, my wife is pretty firm about not turning them on until the day after Thanksgiving. So, there are days in November when the lights will be on for a little while, and then turned off, depending on which one of us gets home first.

In any case, this year feels different — which is something I’ve been saying about a lot of things. And last week, when I stopped in at one of our local stores to pick up some home improvement supplies, I didn’t cringe when I saw all the holiday decorations on display.

In fact, I smiled. And I wasn’t the only one — there were quite a few other customers strolling the aisles, taking in the Christmas trees and twinkling lights.

The late Dr. Alan Boraas, who was a professor of anthropology at Kenai Peninsula College, used to talk about “the Culture of the North.” In a nutshell, he would emphasize the importance of adapting to what our environment provides. The key to not just surviving, but thriving, is to get outside and enjoy the day, whatever it may bring.

I grew up in New England, where, traditionally, the woods and the darkness have been associated with scary, bad things. But after more than two decades living in Alaska, I’ve come to appreciate the fact that the night isn’t necessarily dark — not when you have snow to reflect the light of the moon and stars (and, if needed, a headlamp). And did you catch the northern lights earlier this week? There truly is beauty in the night.

Getting back to Christmas lights, we’ve moved into the part of the year when our nights are longer than our days. The sun isn’t coming up until almost 9 a.m., and it’s setting by 7 p.m. While it may not be exactly what was meant about adapting to the environment, I’m looking at this as an opportunity to put some lights up a little bit early. Maybe while I’m cleaning the gutters, I can put up a string of lights. Or I can hang the twinkling snowflake lights in the window. I’m not ready for the full-fledged display, but maybe just enough to make me smile while only mildly mortifying my wife.

Soon enough, we’ll be past Halloween and Thanksgiving, the Christmas tree will be up, and hopefully, there will be some snow on the ground. Even as I write this, there are rumors of snow in the forecast. I’ll be putting away the bikes and getting out the skis. I plan to fully embrace the Culture of the North and enjoy all that our winter has to offer.

But in the meantime, I’m ready for a little lift, something to boost my spirits during the time between the last bike ride and the first ski.

I’m ready for some Christmas lights.

Will Morrow lives in Kenai. Email him at willmorrow2015@gmail.com.

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