Monday, December 21, 2009

Solstice and the Season of Lights

I am so very happy that the Solstice is here and gone. Even though it's only the first day of winter, and we probably have a lot more cold weather and dreary days before spring, I can already feel the shift toward the light. I have really been feeling the lack of light and shortness of days this year.

On some mornings when I go in to work early, I leave the house in the dark, and I come home in the dark, not having seen my farm or any of it's non human occupants at all that day. I know that plenty of people have that kind of schedule all the time, and they are fine with, or at least used to it. I personally think it stinks. I like seeing what is going on on my land and with my animals- not to mention the time exploring it all with my kids. It is certainly making me appreciate, and protect the uninterrupted days we do have to enjoy the outdoors here together.

I don't know how people in Alaska and the far north manage. I backpacked there for a few months one summer many years ago, and while the midnight sun was something to get used to in a tent, I cannot imagine the near complete darkness they have in winter. I remember a woman telling me that alcohol consumption, domestic violence, and suicides all go up substantially there in the dark season. I can imagine that is probably true.

I guess that shortage of daylight hours is probably why so many cultures and religions have recognized that we all seem to need a little extra light and celebration at this time of year. I could use a little extra light and celebration myself. Although it poured down rain all day here, dampening my idea of a Solstice bonfire party, I'm lighting candles, and enjoying the light and warmth that I do have. The darkest day of this year has past, the window of daylight hours will be growing again, and soon I'll be enjoying long days, evening walks with my family, and plenty of sunshine to play, explore and accomplish things outside. In the meantime, I am feeling awfully thankful for a cozy fire to cuddle up by, people I love to cuddle up with, games to play, stories to read, music to listen to, and hot toddies to celebrate with.

Happy Solstice everyone!