Sunday, December 21, 2014

Solstice--The Light Returns

We are at the Solstice, that time of the Earth's turning when day is shortest and night holds one last grip of our 24 hours. Soon we will see the sun returning bit by bit, a few minutes earlier in the morning, and setting a few minutes later in the evening.

It's time to being in the evergreens, light the bonfires, slow down and pay attention to the universe that holds us. Bring out favorite poetry and music, curl up during long winter evenings with a cup of eggnog, cider, wassail, wine or hot tea and let the winter winds blow.

Today I'm sharing a few of my favorite poems and songs for this season. Below you will find a link to my past posts about this season; as I read through them again myself I realized that this is one of my favorite times of the year; perhaps it is because I do slow down, just briefly, to acknowledge the power of our natural world over our lives--and to accept that busy as I may be, the world continues exactly as it always has in its measured rhythms and cycles. There is comfort in knowing that whatever change we humans might effect, underneath it all life continues with little regard for our strivings. We are but a drop in time, and recognizing that keeps us humble.

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!!

A Solstice song for this chilly time of year from the Wyrd Sisters.


All out of doors looked darkly in at him
Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze
Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.
What kept him from remembering what it was
That brought him to that creaking room was age.
He stood with barrels round him -- at a loss.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once again
In clomping off; -- and scared the outer night,
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar
Of trees and crack of branches, common things,
But nothing so like beating on a box.
A light he was to no one but himself
Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,
A quiet light, and then not even that.
He consigned to the moon, such as she was,
So late-arising, to the broken moon
As better than the sun in any case
For such a charge, his snow upon the roof,
His icicles along the wall to keep;
And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt
Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted,
And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept.
One aged man -- one man -- can't keep a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It's thus he does it of a winter night.

Let's finish with one more beautiful song for this season, and a link to more Solstice posts on this blog

Merry Solstice, my friends!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Sherrell said...

Susanna - what a beautiful blog today - thank you so much - this is also a favorite time of year for me. I especially liked your line "busy as I may be, the world continues exactly as it always has in its measured rhythms and cycles". Thank you again!

Quinn said...

I think a lot of us are feeling, thinking, and writing about this today! Happy Solstice to you, Sue :)

annie said...

I enjoyed your post!
Winter smiles to you!

Michelle said...

Nature presses on in its infinite wisdom. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas week ahead!

Nance said...

I'm deep in the despair of a bleak and dreary December. Only the miracle of Christmas and the hope of a brilliant New Year, leads me forward! (being a bit overly dramatic : ) I enjoyed your post, Sue.

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