The shortest day of the year was rainy, windy, cold and dreary. A good day to stay home. But, of course we celebrate the night not because it's a nice, pleasant night - but because, despite all dreary evidence to the contrary, it's the night of turning once more toward the sun. The days will get longer. The cycles of the world will renew. It's going to get colder - this is the first day of winter, after all - but the work of re-making spring starts now.
After darkness had fallen and the drizzle was only intermittent, I took dry fuel from the woodpile to build a blaze. The windy night soon had it whipped into a dancing bonfire. A friend and her daughters joined us and we toasted marshmallows and sang, and dodged the sparks and embers that were flung out from the fire. I threw wet pine boughs on the blaze to send even more shards of fire twirling up and around in the dripping wet woods.