Today is the Winter Solstice. The long trek from one season to another has reached it’s U-curve bottom with the shortest sunlit day of the year. There is something about the solstice, and you don’t have to be a pagan or a Wiccan or a tree-hugging nature weirdo to feel it. Communities and religions and cultures around the world have all traditionally felt the need to do something to mark the high and low points of the sun, to throw some kind of party.
And so there are many ways to mark the Solstice – to respect that moment when the Earth shrugs and tosses back the gloom of the long Northern winter and the climb back towards summer begins. If you feel the rhythms of nature, and I think all good gardeners do, the miracle of the evergreen tree seems especially profound. If you are Christian, there is great beauty in celebrating the birth of the Christ – he who, believers feel, can lead you to a light-filled future – near the nadir of the sun’s power. The son and the sun, rising together.
Whatever your faith, or lack thereof, there is something about the low time of the sun that pushes upon you, urging you to look inward, hunker down and consider whatever great gifts surround you – family, home, health, prosperity, beauty, joy, song. We celebrate the dark by lighting candles (or, the modern version, stringing lights) and create in our community a sort-of miniature blaze to compensate for the long hours of natural evening. We are all like fireflies – or perhaps Lynyrd Skynyrd fans – lifting up our our little flame in the dark and hoping that others see, and flick their light our way.
This blog has, to my great honor, given me the ability to hoist my light a bit higher than I’d be otherwise able. And it’s shown me lights shining all around the world that I would not otherwise have seen. Sometimes I get to spark something; every day my readers spark something in me – challenging and stretching and supporting – and I like to think that together, we are stronger than we’d be apart.
In my life I have so much to be grateful for it’s kind of ridiculous. I sometimes stagger around, wondering how I got so lucky that the life I lead is the life I lead. And this isn’t some kind of bullshit false modesty thing – I have a good life and I know it and I try not to ever take it for granted.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be heads down, hanging out with my kids and my husband and my extended family. We’ll be cooking and eating and sticking bows on each other’s heads. There will be gifts, but more than that there will be the great pause of routine that allows for the modern gathering – vacation from work, kids out of school, family drawing near.
I’ll be writing a lot – I have many, many writing projects I’m trying to complete before the new year – but unless my fingers go stir-crazy, this will be my last post until 2014.
Thank you all for your support. I appreciate so much that you take the time out of your full days to spend a bit of time here with me and my garden and cooking and urban homesteady thoughts.
However you celebrate the season, may it be Happy, Merry, Joyful. May the low hours of the sun in your life be bright with love and serenity.
Here’s to 2014. I’ll see you there.
Lots of Love,
Very nice ending post for the year, see you there…..
Merry Happy Joyful to you and yours as well. : )
Blessed Yule! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! We’ll be making a Yule Log cake, lighting a fire and some candles and thinking about the return of the light and what it may bring. Enjoy your family!
Merry Christmas! And a joyous, healthy, prosperous New Year!
Thank you for just being there and being willing to share your knowledge.
Enjoy your family — don’t OD on the Bourbon Pecan Toffee Bark — and I’ll look forward to the first post of 2014.
Debbie Farnam says
Same to you Erika…thanks for your inspiration this past year. Making your Bourbon Pecan Toffee sinful stuff today! Have a beautiful holiday.
I like the idea of the Son and the sun rising at the same time of year, but in fact Jesus was born in the fall sometime, like mid-September. The shepherds would not be out in their fields with sheep at this time of year, so once again real Christianity was hi-jacked by the political powers that be at the time of the calendar-making and trying to supplant the pagan holidays of the time (same with Easter).
Thank you for the beautiful post and blog. May you have a Merry Christmas yourself. Most importantly, may the Son rise in our hearts, for the world surely needs not just the love of God, but the wisdom and insight of God dwelling in and among each one of us in the days ahead.
Hi Erica! I’ve been reading your blog for some time now, but it is the first time I write… I like a lot of your posts, but I guess this one touched something deeper so I felt the need to come out and wish you a joyfull time with your loved ones and a great start in the New Year. Happy Holidays and best wishes from rainy Amsterdam 🙂
Happy Winter Solstice to you, Erica! I’m hoping the reference to writing, and the recent post asking us what kind of book we’d like to see from you, means there may be some kind of book forthcoming in the new year from you. I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas too.
GayLee Kilpatrick says
Happy Christmas, and any other reasons to celebrate you choose! I’m going to spend some time looking over the plethora of seed catalogs that began arriving weeks ago (what’s the world coming to? They used to wait until after the holidays.), and dreaming of my spring garden. Thanks again, Erica, for all of your thoughtful and well-written posts. I’ve enjoyed them all.
dr. Dave says
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Merry Christmas & God Bless everyone!
Sarah Z says
Thank you for everything that you do! Happy Solstice and see you next year. Enjoy your family!
Theresa Loe says
Very nice post Erica. Hope you family has a rock’n holiday.
Ien in the Kootenays says
Much love to you and your family. I so appreciate that you know how fortunate you are. I look forward to enjoying and sharing your light in the coming growing season. And now, I am going to make your Meyers Lemon Butter.
Sharon T says
Thanks for all you do, Erica. I hope you and your family have a blessed holiday.
Happy Holidays to you and yours! I am getting ready to go to a friend’s house for our annual Solstice Party, after I am done taking care of the beasties for the day. I too feel very blessed by all that I have, even though life isn’t easy at the moment. See you next year!
Corie / Primal Gardener says
Happy solstice! Merry Yule! Thank you for this awesome blog community and the wonderful posts that y’all write. They have made my year brighter and happier (and helped me grow a pumpkin!). Blessings to you and yours.
Merry Christmas to you and your family, Erica!
Happy holidays and have a wonderful 2014! See you next year!
This was a really lovely sentiment. May you and yours have a Joyful, Happy and Merry Christmas. You’re light does indeed shine very bright accross the interwebs – please take care of yourself so that we can continue to benefit from your inspiration.