These days it’s the smallest things that can make all the difference. I could feel the smile growing on my face as I sorted out the bins at the side of my house, getting them ready for the following morning’s collection. Now that might seem like an odd thing to make someone happy, but it wasn’t the actual bin sorting that made me smile, it was the fact that I could actually see what I was doing.
For context I always leave it late in the day to get the bins ready. What with foxes and seagulls waiting to pounce and rip my bags to shreds I tend to do it all just before bedtime to give them as short a time as possible to fill the street with my rubbish. For the past couple of winter months that means I’ve been working in the dark.
I keep on meaning to get a side light for the house, but, well you know…it’s one of those jobs I’ll get around to in time. In the meantime, I have had to juggle one handed to get the job done. That’s because one hand has the mobile phone with the light on so that I can see what I’m doing. The other hand tries to pack pink bags, or black bags, or green bags depending on the week in question. As I’m doing this I’m also trying my best to stop the phone from getting wet as its usually raining as well. I expect it would be funny for the casual onlooker although to be honest all they would see in the darkness would be a strange, small moving light accompanied by the occasional curse as bags rip and rubbish tips out once again.
This week was so, so different. I had hoped that someone might have thought about this as a Christmas present but in the end I had to wait until the end of January sales. When it came, it arrived in a very small box, but that was deceiving. Although small this new tool was going to make a world of difference to me.
My life changing gadget is…a headlight! When I say a headlight that hardly does it justice. As soon as I opened the packaging the first thing I did was switch it on and look in the mirror. I nearly blinded myself! It actually took a couple of seconds for the spots in my eyes to disappear.
Having been delivered at lunchtime I couldn’t wait for the sun to go down to try it our for real. Now here’s another thing that happened this week that helped raise a smile whilst also leaving me slightly frustrated. As we’ve approached the end of January its already getting darker noticeably later. Whilst celebrating that fact, it also meant I had to wait another hour to try the headlight out. But boy when the moment came…it was wonderful. I stepped out of the back door with the light firmly strapped to my head, and lo…there was light.
Actually, just saying light doesn’t do it justice. I could clearly see right to the end of the garden. I was like a walking Mumbles Lighthouse. Everywhere I looked a beam like a Colditz searchlight turned night into day. As I rounded the corner of the house the collection of rubbish in assorted bins greeted me and instead of swearing under my breath I could feel that smile spread across my face. Not only could I see exactly what I was doing I now actually had 2 free hands to sort the correct coloured bags. Even when something fell out as I sorted plastics or paper instead of cursing I smiled, turned my head to see when the bits had gone and carried on. It made me wonder if when the guy in the Bible said men preferred darkness to light had ever had to sort out recycling rubbish late at night.
Now that I have the headlight I will have to use it as much as possible because the seasons are definitely changing. There are tell-tale signs everywhere. The garden has snowdrops and some daffodils, the online stores have Easter eggs and today sees the start of the 6 Nations. What a difference a year makes. This time last year the Pandemic seemed a world away. After a terrific start destroying Italy 42 nil the tournament for Wales soon descended into defeat after defeat before finally being postponed until the autumn.
I know it’s easy to say that coming next to last in the table at the end of the year didn’t really count in a Virus affected season but somehow it didn’t really hurt as much as it would have in a normal year.
For some of the Autumn games I had to remind the family that somewhere on some TV channel or another there was an international game being played live. I think we got used to the games being played in empty stadiums, but I don’t think any of us really liked it.
Will we care about this year’s tournament? If we start winning games again I expect we will, but I do wonder how long it will be before we learn to enjoy things again, the way we did before the Coronavirus stopped the world.
After months of not daring to dream to a return to normal it finally feels that we can be hopeful again. The roll out of various vaccines has helped start a little light at the end of the very long dark tunnel we have all been trapped in since last March.
It is a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of mankind that working together we can find ways to combat even the greatest threats to our very survival. Of course, once this particular danger has been tamed there will be other problems natural and man made that will threaten us all, but we must not let the darkness prevail and each of us has a responsibility.
As the poet Amanda Gorman said at the President Biden Inauguration’
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.
You know, my headlight is small enough to sit comfortably on a band around my head but the light it casts is life changing. No matter how small you think your light might be there is no darkness strong enough to stop it shining if you let it shine and you could change your life, or someone else’s life when you do.