Tonight’s post must needs be short, because it is very late, and I am very tired. Girl and I just walked home in the dark from a party at the home of a homeschooling friend in the neighborhood. Fourteen adults, all homeschooling families that we know, sitting around a fire in the big front yard, or talking in the kitchen, with beer or hard cider or warm spiced wine. Twenty-six children from toddlers to teens coming inside and going back out all the time. Eating snacks, playing games, gathered in little groups around a laptop, or with some toys, dispersing and coming back together. Roasting marshmallows and dropping long Loblolly pine needles into the fire to watch them curl and burn. Playing in the dark: climbing on the fallen tree, jumping on the trampoline, running on the little narrow path through the brush by the stream that borders their property, swinging on their tree-branch rope, riding some kind of mini-vehicle down the long wheel-chair ramp from the side entry to the sidewalk and upsetting the dog. In short, kids in the dark. A real and gloriously fun party for the kids, a genuinely pleasant and relaxing party for their parents. Husband and Boy left a little earlier, Girl and I a little later. Girl was asleep before I finished singing her our nighttime song.
Have I mentioned how much I love early night time? Nothing is more thrilling to the kids than darkness. But the rest of the year they are in bed for almost all of it. (And frankly, I don’t get to be out in much of it myself.) In my mind, the season of holidays is also the season of night, and the bite of air that’s just a little cold has an edge of anticipation and excitement. There’s just something special about these two months, November and December. I’m happy that the kids got a real taste of that tonight. And all the better to have shared it with friends.