I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

I was a little stuck this morning, thinking of my Sunday Thought. There’s so much seasonal pressure, you know? I first thought a line from a hymn, or carol would do–  but there are so many rolling around in my head right now. Then I thought of something I heard Faulkner once said. When he was asked what he thought of Christianity, he supposedly replied he thought it sounded pretty good and maybe we should try it some time. I couldn’t find the direct quote though, so maybe that’s a just a good line I wish I’d said? Finally I got to thinking about Solstice and Advent and light– and especially darkness– which here in the north is often filled with light–stars, snow, fire, aurora, a twinkling tree in a window, good cheer from folks you meet on Main Street or a snowy trail– and I decided a verse from one of my favorite Emily Dickinson poems would be good– “We grow accustomed to the dark– when light is put away.” But that sounded sort of blue out of context, and so I figured I’d share the whole poem, so you can to take it with you through the next few days with a little smile, and maybe a surer step.

We grow accustomed to the Dark-

When Light is put away

As when a Neighbor holds the Lamp

To witness her Goodbye–


A Moment– We uncertain step

For newness of the night

Then fit our Vision to the Dark

And meet the Road –erect–


And so of larger Darknesses

Those Evenings of the Brain

When not a Moon disclose a sign

Or Star come out within–


The Bravest grope a little

And sometimes hit a tree

Directly in the forehead

But as they learn to see-


Either Darkness alters-

Or something in the sight

Adjusts itself to Midnight-

And Life steps almost straight.