Carl White’s Life in the Carolinas

Stroll Through a Winter Wonderland
by Suzelle Sinclair 

“Within you is the light of a thousand suns.”

Robert Adams

Each day grows shorter and darkness descends upon us earlier and earlier each evening. It may seem ironic to call this the season of light, but it is in the darkness that the light appears brightest. As the holidays approach, amazing light displays are appearing across the Carolinas. These outdoor exhibits are fun for the whole family, including the family pup.

Gracie was sitting at the door, peering out at the darkness. She seemed sad that the onset of evening had cut her walk short. She was unaware that this evening I had planned a special treat at for her. With the words, “Come on Gracie, we’re going for a ride,” her ears perked, tail wagged and her melancholy mood shifted and exploded into excitement. We were on our way to the Tanglewood Festival of Lights, Paws in the Park. This two day event precedes the opening of the Festival of Lights and supports the Humane Society of Davie County.

As we drove through the city of Winston-Salem, Gracie marveled at the lights of the city. Tanglewood Park is located in Forsyth County, just west of this metropolitan city. The 1,200-acre park is owned and operated by Forsyth County and is open year-round. It offers a variety of amenities including golf, swimming, BMX racing, horseback riding, RV campground, dog park, and for thirty years, the rolling countryside has been transformed into a winter wonderland. Enormous displays of whimsical winter scenes are a marvel for young and old alike. Folks from miles around come to the park to drive through this brilliant display. Over the years additional events have accompanied the festival, including the annual Running of the Lights and Paws in the Park. Information about all events and tickets can be found online at the Tanglewood Festival of Lights website.

At the entrance of the park there is an amazing tunnel of lights arching over the roadway. I opened the sunroof of my car and Gracie popped her head out to experience the crisp air and array of lights. Her tail wagged with such excitement that it beat against the back of my seat. As we approached the lady who scanned tickets, she asked if we were there for Paws in the Park. Gracie, with her head out the sunroof gave a friendly “arf” in reply. The lady looked at Gracie, giggled and replied, “yes, I suppose that was a silly question.”

I parked the car and Gracie could hardly wait to get out to explore. We were immediately greeted by a number of friendly pups who were equally anticipating this delightful adventure. As we headed out with our new furry friends and their equally friendly humans, we were greeted by volunteers of the Davie County Humane Society that offered Gracie a glow stick collar and a yummy dog treat. Along the way, more volunteers offered direction and more treats. Gracie and I both enjoyed this evening stroll through the enchanted wonderland.

Gracie bid farewell to her new friends and we headed home. Leaving the park Gracie enjoyed one last look at the beautiful lights, before curling up and falling asleep on her favorite blanket in the back seat.

As I drove towards home, I thought about how the lights in the darkness helped transform our mood from melancholy to a mood of hope and joy. I contemplated all the many ways that I could be a light to others this holiday season. There are so many wonderful ways to brighten the lives of those who may be experiencing darkness. I smiled at the thought and realized that the only thing that brings more joy than seeing a light in the darkness, is being a light in the darkness.

Tanglewood Park Website:

Tanglewood Festival of Lights Website:

Davie Humane Society Website:

If you would like to learn about volunteer opportunities or other ways you can help others in your community, call United Way at 211 or visit: