SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, is very real. I didn't fully appreciate the cause of mine until this fall when I spent the month of October in Eastend, Saskatchewan. I grew up in Winnipeg. Everyone talks about Winnipeg winters (I hate the derogatory term "Winterpeg"), but no one remembers anything but the cold. Most of them, whoever they are, haven't even been there. They're just nodding to a stereotype. Let's talk about Winnipeg sunshine instead. I fear it was the lack of it that triggered my mother's death. We bought a studio apartment for her just down the hall from my place but she lived there only 5 months. Toronto is very bleak in the winter. I really think my mother missed the sunshine. Well, so do I, and I didn't realize how much until now, until October, that is, when I walked every day for a month under a vast bowl of blue sky with that brilliant prairie sunshine pouring out of it, and I stored it up like a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter. Now, less than a month before the shortest day of the year, I am blearily starting to droop and mope. By January, when the days start getting longer, I will begin to brighten up. I wonder if my love of the light is the reason I love fireplaces so much, as I burn fossil fuel powered initially by the sun Too scientific for me. For several years a psychiatrist friend lent me a DayLight, a portable lamp about the size of a make-up mirror, that i sat and read in front of for half an hour before 9 o'clock every morning, from November to March. It helped, until my cataract lenses clouded over and I had to have them scraped. (ugh) Perhaps, a friend suggested, they had been blasted by the light. So this year I didn't use it. But this year I went to Saskatchewan, so I was okay. What will I do next year? I'm not the only one, of course. The Festival of Light, however and wherever it is celebrated, is people's response to the darkness over the centuries. We all light real or metaphorical candles to keep the darkness at bay. May the light shine upon you!