In my grandfather’s later years of life, he would count minutes. First, every day he’d count the minutes of daylight we lost; then, starting on the darkest day of the year, he’d start counting the minutes we gained. He wouldn’t announce it every day, but sometimes randomly, he’d tell me “oh, we’ve gained about 10 minutes now.” I have no idea how he did it or how he kept track. A man who didn’t finish middle school, he was renowned for being able to do math in his head faster than my aunt (as a child) could do it on a calculator. What I do think I know, though, is why. Equal parts dark and light, he wanted to see the darkness coming, feel the impending cold and gloom of the winter months and not be surprised; but he also wanted to watch the light—and maybe the promise of that light—adding up. Most people who knew my grandfather would never say he was an optimist; however, I think this practice might be evidence to the contrary.
We at Change Seven hope that the essays, stories, and poems in these pages will bring some brightness to your winter. Also, a reminder: even though it might seem dark now, if you pay attention, we gain a little light every day.