Niagara Gazette

February 10, 2013

VINCENT DAVIS: It's always Dark before it gets Darker

Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — There’s an old proverb from epic action movies: “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” While this may be an inspiring thought nugget for “The Dark Knight” or a Hobbit, I feel that for the average person’s experience it only tells half of the story.

The fact of the matter is that while it makes sense that we’d reach peak darkness sometime before sunrise, there are in fact numerous times throughout any night where things haven’t quite reached peak darkness, but are still super dark and will be for quite some time. In the world of Western New York Winters, February is that super dark time.

The weather was pretty nice last week, right? I think two weeks ago we almost felt 50 degrees in the sun! Did you put on shorts and wash your car? Take a trip to see if any ice cream places were open? I hope so, because that very well may have been the last time you’ll see the sun until the summer.

If I’ve learned anything in my 20-plus years in the area it’s that the moment you think you’re going to ‘go for a bike ride’ is two days from the moment where the shed you keep your bike in has snow drifts at window level which prevent you from reaching it.

Some of you are no doubt reading this as you cling to the hope that this winter will be like last year; “It only snowed like three times last year!” you’ll say as you un-box your badminton racquets in preparation for a garden party you’re planning on throwing ‘once it warms up.’ I’m going to be honest with you, that garden party is never happening.

I know to this point the article has had a dark rain cloud vibe. I’m not going to sugarcoat things, we all know we have at least two major snowstorms coming to us before the spring and these storms will inevitably fall during the least convenient times of the season, like the day you’ve rented a bounce house for your toddler’s birthday or the day you’re planning on “finally tackling the gutters.”

But all hope is not lost.

Knowing that no matter how nice the weather is today is in no way an indication of how said weather will be tomorrow lends a certain immediacy to any situation. You’ve been waiting to wash your car? Take the pile of stuff behind your house and move it to the side of the house? Wrap your pipes so they won’t freeze when it snows in the next 2-42 days? You’d better do it now because who knows when you’ll be able to again!

There’s a tendency to feel pressed under the constant pressure of a ticking weather clock that could go off at any moment, but really, on the other end of the spectrum it can be freeing. When the sun peeks out from behind the clouds I feel like Tom Cruise in ‘Top Gun’ after Goose dies or how Val Kilmer feels whenever he’s read a script post-‘Top Gun’ — I have nothing left to lose. Why not pull out the cargo shorts and go roller blading, it’s 47 degrees and sunny outside! 

We’re reaching peak time for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the time where lack of sunlight can cause depression, it’s in the best interest of your health for you to drop whatever you’re doing and go outside as soon as you catch a break in the snow, embrace that freedom. 

For the rest of the time when you’re shuttered inside, there’s always Netflix.

Vincent Davis II is a Cornell graduate, DJ, and market development specialist in the IT industry. He can be contacted at