December 21, 2008

Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Here in the Valley of the Sun, you’d never know it – it was just another seasonable sunny and warm day. Of course, back home where the snow was piling up they probably wouldn’t have known either. Either way, up in the northern climes it must be of some minor cheer to know that from here on out the days will only get longer. Slowly at first, of course, but at least the progression towards later dawns and earlier dusks has stopped.

When you think of it, it’s hard to believe how long it has been since the days started getting shorter. I think of the Goodboys Invitational weekend back in July, with trees and fairways and woods all full of greenery, and short-sleeve shirts and shorts and suntan lotion (and no shortage of three-putts from yours truly). And then, a month later when fellow Goodboy Steve “Killer” Kowalski and I spent a summer afternoon by the shops and bars on the wharves in Newport, RI. How alive and full the earth seemed then!

And yet even then the days had already started shortening on their annual progression, a pilgrimage that ended with today’s bottoming out. How strange it is, then, that when the first notice is taken of the days actually getting longer – usually towards the end of January – it’s also a strange contradiction that, back in New England, it just happens to coincide with the coldest weeks of the year.

As a New Englander, I love all the seasons in their annual glorious progression. There’s something wonderful about the uniqueness each season brings – both good and bad. Out here in Phoenix, everything is muted – since it’s always green and brown, the only question is whether it’s hot or not. But I can remember cross-country skiing through the New Hampshire woods and still see, on the coldest of winter days, on the trees and bushes in the woods the promise of spring in the buds seemingly asleep, just waiting for that sign, that indication that sufficient light is available to unfold it’s designated place in God’s creation.

But tonight that all seems just a memory as we sit by the Christmas tree enjoying a glass or two of wine while Loreena McKennitt’s “To Drive The Cold Winter Away” plays softly in the background. The last of the 2008 bills have been paid, the rabbits have been taken care of, and hopefully a less hectic work week awaits. Life seems both precious and good – we’re both in good health, we count our blessings among all the family and friends we hold dear in our hearts and minds as the memories of Christmases past warm our hearts and remind us of how precious each day is as the old year 2008 crawls towards its inevitable end.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:40 | Comment (1)
1 Comment »
  1. Last night a few friends and I gathered in my home for a Solstice celebration. All electric lights were off and only candle light throughout the house. I gathered holly, evergreens, ivy, mistletoe, frankencense and myhrr and my oak candlelabra from Latvia. I read what the meanings of the greenery were and a bit of how the Solstice has been celebrated. We stood in a circle, sang some “old” songs, held a candle and spoke what were leaving behind and what our intention is for the upcoming season. I love blending the “old” ways with the new. Once we completed this, I turned on the tree, the twinkle lights and we sat at the dining table eating sweet treats and drinking the mulled wine that I made. It was a very sweet and warm gathering (it is 8 degrees this morning).
    So, Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, Pricigi Ziemisvatki(Latvian for Happy Christmas)

    Comment by Jana — December 22, 2008 @ 5:27 am


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