personal & miscellany

The longest night

Winter solstice arrives Sunday at 4:19 Coordinated Universal Time, which is 8:19 PM tonight, here on my home slice of the planet. At the time of writing, I’m a few hours away from the point at which the Northern Hemisphere will be leaning its furthest away from the sun for the year. The beginning of winter, and the start of the 12-day ritual of Yule.

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The state of things

I’ve been sick for over two weeks now, and although I’m through the worst of it, the wracking cough lingers, my sleep has been poor, and I’m generally feeling like a huge grouch. So this evening I put my novel aside and spent a little time looking up Yuletide rituals for something that might lift my spirits. I’m not feeling up to preparing a feast, and burning a yule log in a condo with no fireplace just feels like a bad idea. Tomorrow morning, I might try to rouse early and greet the late-rising sun with a solstice walk. That sounds nice. But for now, a couple of pagan prayers of thanks for the wonders of nature as I watch the sky darken will do.

“As the earth grows colder,
the winds blow faster,
the fire dwindles smaller,
and the rains fall harder,
let the light of the sun
find its way home.”

Lots of people like to complain that San Diego doesn’t have “seasons.” Poppycock. The planet’s axial tilt changes here just like everywhere else, and the solstices and equinoxes divide our year-long orbit around the sun into four discrete seasons, no matter the weather. We have seasons. They’re just all nice seasons.

No it isn’t currently twenty degrees or snowing, but ask the trees and they’ll tell you. It’s cooler and cloudier now than it was a month ago, and the maples are dropping their now-orange leaves. We have a few winter months ahead of us, when the rains fall harder and Mission Valley floods. On windy February mornings, the ornamental pears in Balboa Park will shed their little white blossoms, blanketing the park in its annual snowfall. Then we’ll have a couple of cloudy months in late spring, when the jacaranda wash the city in purple, and tourists complain that it’s never sunny here. Finally in July, the sun will find its way home, overstaying its welcome and making everyone complain in November that they’re ready for boots and sweaters. Don’t tell me we don’t have seasons.

“I am grateful for that which I have.
I am not sorrowful for that which I do not.
I have more than others, less than some,
but regardless, I am blessed with
what is mine.”

As winter arrives, I have a safe home, a comfortable couch to lay on, and a stack of good books from that man-made wonder we call the public library to keep me company until this cold finally moves along. I am, indeed, blessed with what is mine.

Sources: EarthSky, Learn Religions

2 thoughts on “The longest night”

    1. Ah, so happy to hear it! And as my brother reminded me this morning: this year we get a leap day between the solstices! So we have a little more time to linger in the winter season this year. 🙂

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