The Shortest Day of the Year Holds Possibilities

Winter Solstice – Dec 21st 2023

Indigenous people often recognize this day as a day of celebration, ritual, and tradition: “For many Indigenous cultures, winter is a time to connect with the spirits of the past. The December solstice became a time to reflect on and thank their ancestors, share stories, honour their origins, and set intentions for themselves in preparation for the cold months ahead. It’s also a time to recognize everyone’s fundamental interconnectedness—with each other, nature, and the cosmos.” Link to CAMSCA

According to NASA –

“It’s the day of the year with the fewest hours of sunlight. This year, for the Northern Hemisphere, it’s taking place on Dec. 21: the day when the north half of the globe is at its furthest from the sun. In the Southern Hemisphere, the shortest day of the year happens in June. These two parts of the globe have different solstices because of the way the Earth is tilted compared to the sun…

The ancient cultures knew that the Sun’s path across the sky, length of daylight, and location of the sunrise and sunset all shifted in a regular way throughout the year. Additionally, people built monuments, like Stonehenge in England and the Torreon in Machu Picchu, Peru, to follow the Sun’s annual progress and predict its movements.

Today, we have even more information about the universe, and we celebrate the solstice as an astronomical event caused by Earth’s tilt on its axis and its motion in orbit around the Sun.

No matter where you are on Earth’s globe – this is your time to celebrate this seasonal change!”

What I like About Solstice

I have always enjoyed that each day after the solstice, we have a little more sun as the days get longer. Granted, it is more of a psychological benefit as the increase is negligible initially.

However, starting Friday, December 22, 2023, we will stop losing daily sunlight, which has been going on since June, and instead finally start to increase it! This gain will be minuscule at first, just a matter of seconds a day, but will steadily grow until daily daylight expands by two daily minutes per day in January and three by the 20th of February. Apparently, the exact amount of brightness gain depends on your location. (I found this information on The Old Farmers Almanac)

This year, I get to do something new. I discovered what looks to be a lovely event close to home—an outdoor Labyrinth at a charming small Anglican church where you can walk with neighbours under the stars (the stars are fantasy) or maybe by flashlight or candlelight, followed by light refreshments. In this time of increasing loneliness for many, I thought I would participate and see what it’s like. I have often walked a labyrinth, but never in winter or the dark or with people I don’t know.

I also like the reflection aspect of Indigenous culture, especially reminding ourselves of interconnectedness.

Trees

And then there are the trees: this is my favourite outdoor one I saw in Quebec City several years ago. Furthurmore, Old Quebec City in the winter season is one of my most favourite places. Still, for now, my neighbourhood is beautiful with lights, a skiff of snow, and children. I can highly recommend the benefits of an evening stroll wherever you are. Sometimes, it doesn’t seem to be worth the effort to do these ordinary things, but I find when I do it, I am always grateful.

My wish for this time of year is that each of you has what you need. And I consider love and friendship to be a need. And if there are two words to describe what I think we need more of, they are tolerance and kindness.

May we all have the courage and strength to acknowledge what is out of our control and do whatever we can to change or influence the things within our control for the better.

 

Here is a tiny excerpt from a poem by Marge Piercy that is worth reflecting on.

“…But remember to bury
all old quarrels
behind the garage for compost.
Forgive those who insulted you.
Forgive yourself for being wrong.
You will do it again
for nothing living
resembles a straight line,
certainly not this journey
to and fro, zigzagging
you there and me here
making our own road onward
as the snail does…”

Notes

1:) Here is the silly and upbeat little video from Sandra Boynton.

2:) My tip for the 26th of December. Find a cozy corner, curl up and read a good book. Give in to heavy eyelids and doze off. Repeat. And always a walk.

3:) Our family book exchange last Sunday did not disappoint. It was a beautiful, restful, companionable and fun evening. (already a Tradition after four years.) Thank you, Iceland. I discovered too late that the link I used to the Icelandic Literary Group was no longer functional. Here is another link (not as good) that will give you an idea of its history.  jolabokaflod 

4:) I will see you next week. May you find ways to enjoy this time that works for you and yours.

5:) Such big thank yous and appreciation for the many ways you continue to encourage me along with my scribbling. A deep bow to each of you. All my best wishes, Trudy 

8 replies
  1. Sue+Fitzwilson
    Sue+Fitzwilson says:

    Happy Holidays Trudy to you and your family. You find the joy in life which brings hope and reminds us all to appreciate our lives as they are. Much love!

    Reply
  2. Janice+Falls
    Janice+Falls says:

    Yes to walks and trees and good books and naps and loved the Boynton video – I’m going to be humming that one for awhile. Bright blessings to you dear Trudy, thank you for all you offer. xoxoxo

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      I like “bright blessings.” Thank you, dear Janice. Enjoy your First Christmas with your beloved grand-baby. Hugs all around, Trudy

      Reply
  3. Jean
    Jean says:

    Beautiful thought,as usual,dear Trudy.i was just chatting with my daughter and she said..not the shortest day mom,it is the day darkness starts leaving.a wonderful way of thinking for all who have suffered dark days this year.i will enjoy thinking of you walking labyrinth this evening. God bless zoom,I will be enjoying time with Cindy.this will be my third year.i love it.helps with those sneak moments of grief.

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thank you Jean. And I like your daughter’s point of view. 🙂 how fortunate to have Cindy to listen to. I will be walking the labyrinth tomorrow night (Thursday) I will let you know how it goes. Best wishes, Trudy

      Reply

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