I enjoy observing the Winter Solstice as a way to mark the changing of the year.  For me it’s the shortest day of the year and for my friends in the Southern Hemisphere it’s the longest.  So officially, from today onwards, the days get longer and there is more and more light to be enjoyed.  I like that idea right about now and I enjoy lighting candles and offering thanks for the blessings of light, sunlight, and all the gifts we associate with them.

With that being said, I also cringe a bit when the Solstice comes around.  Because I don’t notice it coming.  With all the Holiday festivities starting with Halloween prep at the beginning of October I don’t really notice that it’s dark out.  I’ve got things to do and so I bundle up, turn the porch light on before I leave in the morning, and get on with the doing of things I need to get done that day.  This year it’s been record settingly dry so I’ve participated in a glorious fall, it’s been good driving weather and I hope that holds through the Christmas weekend, and other than Black Friday it’s been remarkably non-violent.

But once Christmas is over and the Ball has dropped in Times Square, there is a long stretch of winter ahead with nothing to distract me from the shortness of the days and the length of the nights.  No parties, no dropping leaves, nothing.  In the ancient past this would be the time when everyone hunkered down in their communities, crafted, told stories, and formed community.  I truly wish that we still had that.  Nights when the elders told us the stories and built the fabric of who we were as family, as community.  Stories of what it was like when they were young, the stories their grandparents told them. The stories that make you laugh until you cry, the stories that help you never forget what can happen so you don’t have to relive it yourself.  The stories of triumph and defeat.  The stories that teach us who we are and who we can be.  I mean, Netflix is great and all, don’t get me wrong.  But it doesn’t compare to sitting by the fire-place listening to your own history told straight from the horse’s mouth.  Perhaps in 2012 that is the light we should seek as a way to nourish a new millennia.