I went out yesterday to fill the log basket and was struck by the darkness. I had already donned coat, boots, scarf and head torch, but once I had filled my basket I turned the light off for a minute. Living in the country means that the winter’s night is very, very dark. We have very little light pollution, no street lights, and I regularly leave the outside light off at night (unless it’s snowing, as to better gauge excitement levels at the swirling flakes) The sky had clouded over and there were few stars. I stood staring out into the night, knowing that a track and a field lay before me but only just able to make them out. It was 4.30pm.
It is a dark time. Of year, but also of emotions. I have struggled to think of an appropriate blog post in the wake of the tragedies in Connecticut, in China. I didn’t used to be so crippled by sadness at the deaths of small children. I felt sad, certainly, but not deeply so. We used to live in Dunblane, some years after the primary school shooting there, and although I felt the presence of the past, it didn’t haunt my thoughts. Indeed, the people of Dunblane want only to move on and forward, with only the few statues and stained glass windows as daily reminders. But then I had children of my own, and it all changed. My husband is a primary teacher; next year my eldest son will excitedly set forth into the world without us by his side for the first time. What greater horror could there be than the death of your child in somewhere that is meant to be safe.
I am not in a position of much knowledge or understanding of American history and state-by-state governance of gun laws. But I do feel that if this latest slaughter is not enough to change things, nothing will be.
It is so, so difficult to find hope in the sadness, sense in the senseless. But as Friday brings us at last closer to the sun and the days begin, ever so slowly, to lengthen, so too I hope the rays of sunlight can pierce the blackness surrounding these terrible events. The sun will always come round again.