By Brianna Kocka
As I write this, we are about 14 hours away from the winter solstice—the longest night, shortest day, and latest dawn of the year. My family celebrated the solstice and Yule this weekend by enjoying homemade Eggnog and hard cider, roasting Cornish Hens in Milk, and burning our Yule log. While the flames buzzed and warmed us, we wrote on paper things which we hoped to let go of in the new year, and allowed them to burn up in the flames. We read stories to each other, Gawain the Green Knight, and a story about death and rebirth, and we stayed up until only embers were left in the fire-place.
I believe that as a culture we are not well in tune with nature. We don’t make room for the natural order in our life. Instead we use schedules and clocks and calendar to dictate time and season. The solar clock is, of course, not as technically precise as our human-made clocks, so “doing life” on a global scale by following the ever-changing sun would make modern life difficult.
But it is with this is mind that I challenge each of you to embrace the natural order tonight and tomorrow as we descend into the darkest night and shortest day. Allow the natural order, the darkening and lightening of the days, the cool and the warm, the rain and the sun shine—allow these binaries to affect us in our lives, to be reminders of what matters, to help us slow down and quiet ourselves, or speed up and work hard. Embrace that the darkness is difficult, because it is! Search what that means to you, and maybe even participate in it in some way that you are comfortable with.
I found this handy map that helps locate “solstice streets” in major cities around the world. These streets will allow for optimal viewing of the sunrise for both Winter and Summer solstices. For a more in-depth look at this winter solstice, visit this article on the Telegraph’s website.
Enjoy this coming night of darkness, and remember that after it is through, the light begins to return.