Monday, December 22, 2014
The winter solstice marks the turning of the year. Days that have been growing shorter and shorter, finally reach a nadir, and will begin to grow longer. The sun will arc higher in the sky. The cold will deepen, more snow will fall, the ground will become iron-hard and the ponds will freeze solid. But the sun is coming back - and today begins the long process of re-warming these northern woods - of waking things from yearly dormancy and dearth.
It's an event that humans in the north have marked for tens of thousands of years - taking reassurance that spring will return and life will re-emerge.
We marked it in our own little way. Friends came over to eat and drink and converse around a bonfire, which the kids fed with pine boughs until the flames reached above their heads.
At this turning of the year, if a person likes, they bring a symbol of something they want to leave behind - something to burn away in the solstice fire. Or something they wish for the coming year. Into the fire goes a scrap of paper, an icon, a thought. Monica saved a pile of birch bark for people to write their notes upon.