Monday, December 26, 2016

at the closing of the year

winter solstice is not at the very end of the calendar year, but it is a closing of sorts, a conclusion of the year-long journey towards the longest, darkest night.

we held our second annual winter solstice fireside celebration with friends old and new. there were s'mores and hot dogs and the burning of various things, a song taught and led by none other than ander, my child blessed with beautiful pitch and sense of rhythm and flow, some readings of solstice poetry and a prayer of sorts, connections between people established or renewed. laughing and hugging and appreciation and gratitude and cold and warmth and dark and light..

An abbreviated excerpt of "A Celebration of Winter Solstice" from The Circle of Life by Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr.
"There is a tendency to want to hurry from autumn to spring, to avoid the long dark days that winter brings. Many people do not like constant days bereft of light and months filled with colder temperatures. They struggle with the bleakness of land and the emptiness of trees. Their eyes and hearts seek color. Their spirits tire of tasting the endless gray skies. There is great rejoicing in the thought that light and warmth will soon be filling more and more of each new day.
"But winter darkness has a positive side to it. As we gather to celebrate the first turn from winter to spring, we are invited to recognize and honor the beauty in the often unwanted season of winter. Let us invite our hearts to be glad for the courage winter proclaims. Let us be grateful for the wisdom winter brings in teaching us about the need for withdrawal as an essential part of renewal. Let us also encourage our spirits as Earth prepares to come forth from this time of withdrawal into a season filled with light.
"The winter solstice celebrates the return of hope to our land as our planet experiences the first slow turn toward greater daylight. Soon we will welcome the return of the sun and the coming of springtime. As we do so, let us remember and embrace the positive, enriching aspects of winter's darkness. Pause now to sit in silence in the darkness of this space. Let this space be a safe enclosure of creative gestation for you."

The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!

The sun is born again today
We greet the sun’s first morning ray,
We sing and celebrate the light,
The sun’s born in the longest night! 
(Diane Baker)

1 comment:

  1. Nice selections. exactly! Without the dark, how can we cherish the light? how can we have the energy to play again? My writer friend Jenny has a blog, A Brass Quill, and she penned a solstice piece where her fox bard tells the tale of the first winter. Enchanting piece. Appropriate for your young bookworm, too!