When my wife and I were newly married, we took a stroll around our neighborhood to see the Christmas lights. After the expense of furnishing our first home, we had nothing left for outdoor decorations, so we had to admire the other houses on our street that year.
On our walk, we stumbled upon a bright front window that had a huge, electric Winnie-the-Pooh casting a beautiful glow into the front yard. We stopped to behold its wonderment. A light-up Winnie-the-Pooh! Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined that such a thing existed. I’m not sure if she yet knew of my boundless lack of tact and subtleness, or the extent of my hubris – but the next few minutes revealed a great deal about the man she had married. I had to have that Pooh!
I went to the door to size up the owners – a nice, older couple who flatly denied my offers to purchase their Pooh. Evidently, there was already a fight brewing among their children and they simply couldn’t disappoint them. I stopped negotiating and started surveilling the house in preparation for night maneuvers. That Pooh would be mine.
As you can see, I got the Pooh and it has been a fixture in my house ever since. Fortunately for our neighbors and my criminal record, we found out that Sears had them in stock and threw the budget to the wind as you do when a light-up Winnie-the-Pooh is at stake.
I love that bear. And while I am a stickler about turning out lights to save every milliwatt of electricity possible, the bear stays on from the day after Thanksgiving until the day after Christmas simply because it is pleasing.
Our kids love it, too – it is an essential part of Christmas in our home. He even snuck into our last Christmas photo before Kylie got sick:
I fully anticipate an all-out war when we decide to divest ourselves of it. We’ve talked about trying to find more of them to lessen the hostilities, but it is actually kind of fun to think of our heirs brawling over something instead of just pitching everything in a landfill.
This light will shine long after I am extinguished. It has already outlasted one.
I recall some interesting facts about light from schoolish days:
All electromagnetic radiation is light, but we can only see a small portion of this radiation—the portion we call visible light. Cone-shaped cells in our eyes act as receivers tuned to the wavelengths in this narrow band of the spectrum. Other portions of the spectrum have wavelengths too large or too small and energetic for the biological limitations of our perception.
So there is an incredible amount of light around us at all times, but we are limited in how much we can perceive. In fact, science tells us that we can only see 0.0035% of the full spectrum of light. The rest is invisible to us because of our human limitations.
But what about when we shed this shell that limits us? Then… well, then we can see it all. With shackles removed, all light is discernible. I wonder what it’s like – being able to see and perceive more light than I could see if I were to stand in the sands of the Saraha at mid-day. It must be incredible.
I think about how much I love seeing Pooh all lit up for Christmas and I consider how foolish my enjoyment must seem to Kylie, whose vision is no longer limited by earthly rods and cones. She can now see the full glory of his light – the entire spectrum. Pooh is 99.9965% more lovely to her and our beautiful bear is just the tip of the iceberg of truths she can perceive that I cannot. Now I know in part whereas she knows fully.
I can picture her shaking her head with a little grin – like you do when you have an unbelievable secret to share. She would say something like, “Oh, Daddy. Daddy, just wait until you really see it. Just wait. You haven’t seen anything yet!”
I’ll wait. We’ll wait together, me and Pooh. Just a few more Christmases to go. Leave the light on for me, baby. I’m coming.
21 thoughts on “Leave the Light On”
oh, i love this and i think that pooh and a.a. milne would be proud of you. how much light he brings to all of you )
Oh, I hope so. We are big fans.
Its glow is magnificent, as is this piece. The last lines gave me chills.
Thank you. They gave me chills to write.
Nothing ever truly leaves this world forever, does it, Mark?
Kylie exists in smile, every laugh, every moment of joy you experience – and she always will.
Be strong, be well and above all, never forget how blessed you’ve been, my friend.
Thank you, Hook. I can’t forget that. And a Merry Christmas to you and the rest of the Hooks in the great, white north. Stay warm!
I’ll do my best, buddy.
My wife is sick as a dog right now, so that means no snuggling, sadly…
O Pooh. We’re never to old. Thanks for that lovely memory.
Never too old. Pooh is there for all of us.
Our tree is decorated to the brim with Winnie the Pooh ornaments. I’ve loved Pooh since I was in the 4th grade. Hugs….
He’s the best! We have so many of them because we both loved Pooh. I am surprised there is room on our tree for anything else.
I have two series of them and I just need a tree to be just all Pooh.
You have to wonder what region of the spectrum is occupied by love… hopefully all of it.
It’s a whole lotta love. Like Led Zeppelin said.
A quote from Kylie which has so much depth and wisdom I keep it handy. No little girl should have to go through what she did to say this, but I’m grateful that there was some beauty for her,. “…and the beauty and light in the worst of it, is the prettiest and most blinding.” No longer blinding for her. Savor the beauty, little one, savor the beauty.
I love that quote. That letter was returned to us shortly after Kylie died and it gave us great comfort.
I am melted at times when your grief is so overwhelming. For some reason, I become afraid for you in these dark moments. But if you can produce the words you have in the middle of that fight, I can fear less and simply pray for your comfort. You my friend are loved and revered!
Don’t be afraid for me. I’m not jumping in front of a bus anytime soon – I would be the first to push someone out of the way though.
All the best to you and yours, Mark!! And…
And to you, Everett! Merry Christmas.
All that light is how I often imagine it will be like ‘after’, although I can not imagine at all how it could look, I do think about it and look forward to it. I know exactly what you mean. Thank you for always expressing it so well, especially those last few words. I know. Enjoy the Love you share, Kylie will be there, eventhough our limited eyes can’t see.