Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome as it turns an article into a discussion. They must, however, be in English to avoid spam getting in here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Winter Solstice

from Stencil
We are finally here-- Winter Solstice. From the fall equinox, the days get shorter and shorter. The sun is lower on the horizon. With the growing darkness, many of us, in the Northern Hemisphere, begin to count down the time until we will get to the shortest day, and everything will go the other direction. 

Some celebrate the end of a calendar year, which is an artificial device to help humans manage time. The real change comes with the Solstice. For awhile, it won't seem much different; but bit by bit the light increases.

To celebrate the Solstice is a very natural event and goes back into even prehistory. Some of the prehistoric ruins in the US have places that let the shamans determine the exact moment the Solstice arrives, based on the sun coming through a rock hole and hitting a precise spot. For an agrarian, hunting, and gathering population, this is important information.

from Stencil
Fire is an important part of a Winter Solstice celebration as a way to bring back the light. Besides parties there are other possible ways to [celebrate]. A Yule log has many traditions connected to it. Some keep a piece of it for the next Winter Solstice. Others put some of the ashes under their bed as protection (hopefully after the heat has totally gone from them).

We can spend this time to think of something new, something we want, a change in how we think, a new friend. The Solstice is an ending but also a beginning. We could spend some time thinking of what we've done. Now what comes next? The fire can help us do that if we write down these things and then put them in the fire. Concentrate on what comes next.

We've never had a Solstice party, but we might light some extra candles. Since we have frequent fires in the fireplace at this time of the year, it's not special. We have yet to start a bonfire outside-- although that might not be a bad idea since we have much to burn in the debris from the year and in a pile that has been too wet to burn. With our recent snowfall and extreme cold (for us), it might just be possible. 

farm creek
So winter is officially here-- even though it's felt like it for the last weeks. For some, with the less light, it's  a tough time, but more light is coming. And winter can be a time to do less (if it wasn't for Christmas expectations) and enjoy a quiet time.
 "Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for a home." — Edith Sitwell
We all need down times and winter gives us a good excuse to take them... unless lambs are soon to come and livestock needs to be fed... other than.

our farm in Decenber


Brig said...

Your farm is a beautiful place.
Thank you for the tip about the Christmas Caring II Stories. I enjoyed reading them, especially the one you wrote. Not many write about women our age, and you do it well.

Rain Trueax said...

Thank you, Brig. That one is expanded into a novella, Red Hawk Christmas where it's the basic same story but more of it. It's 99¢ until 2017. I plan to write a series of those books about women older, not my age but closer to it :). I enjoy writing them.

Annie said...

The solstices and equinoxes all seem like the beginning of something, especially here where there is a marked difference between seasons. But somehow the winter solstice seems like an odd beginning, the start of a period of stasis and inward retreat. Like entering a cocoon or a pupal phase. Nothing like the beginning of spring or summer which seem so much more full of promise and activity. However my dog, an Alaskan Malamute, definitely thinks the winter solstice is a time full of promise and activity.

Rain Trueax said...

It is hard to see the days longer to start but I tell myself they are ;). Where fall is such a long slog toward longer nights, now we're on the up side, over the hump :). It used to be Christmas was also important to get past because it was such a busy time but these days-- not so much ;).