Monday, December 22, 2014

Lighting Up The Darkness

I have a touch of seasonal affective disorder, so this is a special day each year. It's the day I celebrate that today and each day for the next 6 months will have a bit more daylight than the day before. This is why I love holiday lights--they help keep these winter nights from seeming so long and dark.

This year in Norristown, though, I think we have more lights--the town definitely seems less dark and gloomy. As I mentioned at the beginning of the month, big lighted snowflakes line the business districts on West Marshall St. and part of Main downtown (although the ones on the 100 block of W Main were out last night--and how about next year we extend the snowflakes to the businesses on the 200 and 300 blocks of East Main?). And I mentioned on Friday the 2 blocks of Locust where nearly every house had a light display. Now let me mention a few more I saw in my travels this weekend.

The blocks of Powell from Johnson Highway down to about Fornance. Coolidge Blvd between Markley and Astor. The 400 block of W Fornance. West Main between about Astor and Buttonwood has some nice ones. Lafayette, Stanbridge, Chestnut, Pine, Harding Blvd. Lots of others I remember seeing, but can't remember what street I saw them on. Even last night, when I was returning from a solstice singing gig after 11 pm, there were still quite a few Christmas lights on here and there, guiding the way home.

Best of all, I've noticed displays in the windows of several of our small businesses. Zummo's Hardware has a nice tree in their window. Five Saints isn't even open, but two big lighted wreaths decorate the upstairs windows of the old Humane firehouse. Jus' Java has a nice bright display on Swede. Vance Community Partners lit up the 200 block of Cherry, one of the darkest blocks downtown. When I'm waiting for the stoplight before the Dannehower Bridge, I can enjoy the display in the window of Nataly's Bakery on Main. Two of the bail bondsmen on Dekalb have nice bright displays. Up in the North End, my favorite is Diva's Kitchen, lighting up the corner of Pine and Johnson Highway. Many, many others, too.

All these lights make Norristown feel more positive, and safer, too. It's not that they provide bright security light, but these kinds of lights send the message that someone inside cares about their house or business, and about the town where they live and work. If I had an outdoor electrical connection that didn't require a tall ladder, I'd put out some kind of display, too. I do have candles in my windows, at least.

Norristown's been, symbolically, too much in the dark for too long. I think all these decorations around town are a sign that our community is coming out of its long economic winter. Our winter could also be called one of attitude, and I'm seeing much improvement there as well.. I'm feeling good about Norristown as the year ends.

I'll be taking the next few days off from the Diary. I have baking and gift-wrapping to do and I'm guessing many of you will be busy as well. Have a wonderful Christmas and/or end of Hanukkah and/or beginning of Kwanzaa.

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