A common thread of darkness has suspended over the country in recent years, highlighted by tangible health concerns due to COVID-19 and more abstract fears related to our growing sense of ideological division within our states, smaller communities and
A common thread of darkness has suspended over the country in recent years, highlighted by tangible health concerns due to COVID-19 and more abstract fears related to our growing sense of ideological division within our states, smaller communities and even amongst members of our own families at the dinner table. While there is no single tonic for these ails that continue to besiege our daily life, we can at least take a moment to revel in one simple joy that no global health or political crisis can take away — that is the pure and timeless tradition of smattering colorful lights over our homes, greenery and public spaces during the holiday season. The tradition expands beyond the normal realms of categorization that too often serve as means to differentiate us into groups. Whether you adhere to any of the major monotheistic religions, a less common form of spirituality or find yourself attracted to no particular religion at all, there is no such requirement to revel in a cleverly devised light display. Likewise, there is no limit to the happiness that can be felt by someone who puts the time into putting up lights for others to enjoy. It is another area where the size of Rhode Island — and by extension, the pride that is inherently felt within the small communities of our small state — is, likewise, on full vibrant display. A stroll through Pawtuxet Village, Warwick’s Conimicut, or any other type of small village where community advocates put so much thought and care into how their neighborhoods are portrayed, will inspire an authentic appreciation for the amount of effort, volunteerism and passion goes into these displays. It can serve as a reminder that the people around you are caring, thoughtful individuals who care about spreading happiness to others. It can serve as a reminder of the meaning of the season which we so often take for granted. Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi has lived as an extreme example of the power of the holiday light display since long before he held public office. Throughout the years, hundreds and thousands of people have flocked to his home to see his meticulously curated LED lights, with no fee for entry and open to anyone at any time. It’s a sentiment that many of us can learn from — that the gift of giving is truly the greatest gift to one’s self. It may sound cheesy, but there may be no more important time than right now to appreciate the kind of natural, childlike wonder that is bestowed upon us by simply looking at pretty lights during these dark times.
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