The Magic Hour

photo: Iowa sunrise, 12/22/2020 Stacey Snyder, Iowa educator extraordinare

It’s the first day of winter break for me with an agenda that includes some long-neglected housekeeping / week-of-Christmas duties. But before I dive in, I will spend a couple of hours reading and dozing in the pre-dawn hours. This time just before sunrise is called the magic hour for the gradual blush of color and soft light. Lately, this hour has become a moment of pause and appreciation. It’s just the dog and me at this time of the morning. The house is quiet and smells of freshly-brewed coffee on this first full day of winter. The Christmas tree is lit and decorated with memories represented by ornaments. I own my big heart and the ways it responds to nostalgia and sentimentality. It’s been a lifelong blessing and curse to feel emotions intensely, especially over the past nine months. Part of what makes this holiday is that nostalgia for the Christmases of our childhood or those when our children were little.

Tree in front of a large window with multicolored lights and ornaments.

After the year we’ve had, my emotional energy is running on empty. I think that we could all use holiday moments with people we haven’t been able to see for several months. Even at its best, this is a nostalgic time that brings those long-passed loved ones closer to our hearts. For millions of us, nostaIgia will share space with grief, loss, and longing this time as never before. If Christmas is always a hard time, I hope these days are filled with grace and compassion. I wish you that deep and restorative relaxation that comes at the magic hour.


Published by Laura Nelson Lof

I'm a lifelong Iowan and a proud alum of The University of Iowa. I'm a writer, an armchair political scientist, and an accomplished sports spectator.

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