In late Autumn, little green blades emerge from narcissus paper white bulbs and begin to stretch their fingers up and out towards the sun. Nights grow longer and colder at this time of year and each day there is less and less light; sometimes it feels like the sun is dying. In the last days of December, especially on cloudy days, it feels like the sun will never come back to us.
Two mornings after Christmas, we woke up to a dark, white world. During the night a ferocious storm had swept through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, leaving behind more than a foot of heavy snow and the wreckage of fallen limbs and power lines, roads blocked by fallen trees, houses and cars crushed beneath uprooted trees and tons of snow. Some homes in our town endured more than two weeks without heat or electricity. We were lucky: only seven days without power, and none of the fallen limbs and branches landed on our house.
Dark days of clouds and not even a murmur of Spring. I shoveled snow, chopped ice, chain-sawed cedar and oak limbs and drew the paper whites. One day they gave up. I found them collapsed onto the red shoulders of a poinsettia. Did they fall under their own weight? Were they exhausted from searching for the hidden sun? Maybe they were just tired of being my muses? I hope they’ll pose for me again the next time the sun almost disappears.