Let there be light!

I photographed this Princess Charlotte's passionflower (Passiflora racemosa) while blooming in the Victorian Baltimore Conservatory in Druid Hill Park. It's not native to the US. Passionflower is named after the Passion of Christ. The red and white bloom and green leaves of Princess Charlotte's passionflower makes this flower appropriate for Easter and Christmas.

As we live in the darkest days of the year, we honor traditions of light. It’s the time of year when homes transform into wonderful spectacles of joy, whimsy and fun. Even during a time when we might feel like what’s happening in our daily mundane life might not be very much fun, the strands of twinkle lights come out, candles are lit, evergreens are brought into the home, and a conscious effort is made to bring light into the world.

During my childhood my parents would drive us kids around to gaze at the transformed fairylands, which would otherwise be a darkened landscape without this tradition. And since my dad is like Clarke Griswold from National Lampoon’s Vacation, our own house was always well lit.

As an adult I walk through my neighborhood and I’m struck with this tradition as if seeing it for the first time. A kind of “wow” hits me – a thought that without this meaningful tradition, my neighborhood would be as dark as it is the other 330 or so days of the year.

The strands of lightbulbs all over this continent could be simply what they are – thousands of plastic LED or incandescent electricity users. They can also be pretty.  And, they can be a symbol of hope during the darkest of days.

May your darkest days always have the twinkle of light!

Happy Winter Solstice & Merry Christmas~


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