Here Comes the Sun

If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years, how man would marvel and stare.
~ Emerson

Today is the Winter Solstice and the longest, darkest night of the year. I'm thinking about stars. 

Living in the middle of a city, and a fairly cloudy one at that, I don't see the stars as often as I'd like. Truth be told, I don't go looking for them all too frequently. I was reminded of this last week when we stayed in a cabin in Leavenworth, WA with friends, where from the hot tub on the deck I saw six shooting stars within ten minutes. They were glorious. It made me think about when and where I've really appreciated the stars. One clear night stands out in memory:  I was sailing through the calm Beagle Channel heading towards the Drake Passage and Antarctica beyond. I stood alone outside on the bow deck of the Akademik Ioffe, taking in the most stars I'd ever seen. Yet, I'm incredulous now to think back on the three seasons I worked down on the ice to realize I didn't go outside every night to marvel at the show of stars. Even there, in that magical place at the end of the earth, in the midst of daily routine, stars became ordinary. 

(The stars stretch far...and I am small." 
I am Small by Emma Dodd)

In all the flurry and activity of the holiday season, Solstice is a beautiful time to pause, to be still. The origin of the word solstice comes from "standing still of the sun." Look around you - really look around you - to see your family, your friends, your blessings, your life. Stand still and feel the beat of your steady heart. Stand still and look up at the stars.

("Now in their harness, the reindeer paw at the snow. 
They know the magic is near, very near. 
Santa knows, too. He gazes up at the brilliant, numberless stars, 
and he thinks of all the children and how he loves them so." 
The Christmas Magic by Lauren Thompson)

Tonight our neighbors host an annual Winter Solstice party in their darkened house lit only by candles and a blazing fire in the hearth. We'll eat soup, drink wine and celebrate the darkness. I love this tradition of theirs, which echoes Solstice gatherings throughout the millenia. After all, Stonehenge was built in 2600 b.c. for this precise moment when the world swings back towards the sun. The beauty of Winter Solstice is that we can celebrate the darkness at the same time we celebrate the returning of the light. All day, Xavier and I have been twirling and singing along as we blast the Beatles crooning "Here Comes the Sun." 

Celebrate the darkness, celebrate the return of the light.  Happy Winter Solstice!

No comments:

Post a Comment