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,