It's been stormy for the last couple of days. Tear-trees-up-and-close-roads-with-them stormy. I haven't stuck my nose outside (as the Norwegians say) since I was with friends on Christmas Day, which was the one day we had some lovely weather. The temperature dipped to freezing, the skies cleared and a wane sun actually managed to make a few weak shadows. We walked off some of all the good food we'd been filling ourselves with for two days, and delighted in seeing a few not-so-common birds and beautiful blue skies.
So I spent two days being "housebound" (every time I thought I should go out, the wind would kick up and howl around the house corners, or a hail storm would pummel my windows). I finally got out of the house to go shopping today because today the storm abated and that's when I realized another reason why getting out at all had been so difficult: It was black out.
The cloud cover has been so thick, hardly any light penetrates it. No sunshine in the day, no moonlight at night, just consistent gloom. And it's dark after 4 pm, so walking to the store at 5 pm was an exercise in black: Black asphalt, black clothes, black skies, black ground. There are streetlights but they simply cannot penetrate such darkness; they are absorbed by all the black.
The traditional Christmas lights are still up, draped on people's balconies, lighting up their windows, and it struck me that the normally cheering sight of them in the dead of winter, in our darkest season, wasn't able to penetrate the darkness enough. It was like the world stopped 5 stories up and above that a black nothing. The only thing to see were the buildings and their lights.
When I got home, I did the only thing that made sense in all this darkness: I lit a shitload of candles.
(With a nod to the Rolling Stones and "Paint It Black".)