The winter solstice, finally! And how beautiful it is here with snow on the cedars and spruce and a gray fog dulling the colors. This morning the sun tried to shine through the fog and at times it appeared that an eclipse was occurring, as the sun would be cut in half and then slowly grow to full size again only to slowly disappear once more. Sun and moon have been presenting quite a show in recent days and nights. As the days have grown shorter, even non-morning types like me have been able to see the beauty of the sunrise, and the sunsets have been just spectacular. Moons over the past week have brightened my bedroom and reflected light on that little planet that rides close by (Venus?).
I have been thinking about the season of the solstice and the varied traditions that associate with it, from the religious to the pagan and yule. My ancestors probably walked the Norse and Saxon pagan paths and I find much to appreciate in both (from a very quick read about them recently). But it is the solstice and yule that occupy my thoughts today, because I am absolutely gloriously joyful as the longest night passes and I look forward to more sun each day for the next 180.
Longest night draws my thoughts to those of my loved-ones who no longer walk the earth, whose voices I no longer hear. This includes not just human ones but also all of the cat voices I have enjoyed over my lifetime. I sometimes like to believe that on some green and blue planet far, far away (but not all that far), these voices still resonate among the evergreens and the rippling waters. So tonight I will celebrate those who are gone and remember them with joy for having known them and sorrow that I can no longer hear them.
I have cookies in the oven and ice cream a-plenty as my wassail, so this should be a good one. Happy solstice and good yule, everyone.