The winter solstice is the “shortest day” of the year, meaning the least amount of sunlight; the Sun reaches its most southern point in the sky at local noon. After this date, the days start getting “longer,” i.e., the amount of daylight begins to increase. (The Old Farmer's Almanac)
"In Newgrange, County Meath, there is an ancient tomb covered with beautiful artwork, which remains in darkness for much of the year. The double spiral on this site is one of the symbols which can be seen at the Newgrange site. Once a year, on the Winter Solstice, the tomb fills with light to reveal the beautiful artwork on the walls. While it seems best to leave its origins to the historians, there is no doubt that the ancient Irish considered this day important. It also marked "The Shortest Day" or "The Darkest Midnight" and was cause for celebration, since - once the shortest day has passed, it meant the journey toward Spring could begin." (http://www.minogue.com)
Just a little bit of Winter Solstice trivia for you.
Ah, beautiful and glorious winter. As I write this post, I glance out my office window to see a snow-covered landscape lush with pines whose branches sway under the weight of snow and dance about in the wind. Autumn may be my favorite season, but there is something truly magical about winter, and this one comes after quite an intense year.
2016 has been a year of eye-opening changes.
One of my favorite things about the changing seasons is how much those seasons often mirror life. I wait in anticipation for each season, and for me, they go a bit like this: Spring is a time of renewal and hope, when life seems open to new opportunities and change. Summer is a time of steadiness and curiosity, reflecting on spring, my choices, and evaluating what I have done and what I still must do. Autumn, also my favorite season, is a time of warmth and smiles. It's when I spend the most time outdoors, travel, and when nothing seems impossible. Winter is my cozy season when I look back over the year and realize how little I've accomplished, but that's okay because I have months ahead to catch up.
Strong is the cold, quick is the breeze.
Twilight has risen and Earth sings out,
to the winter moon.
Fierce is her radiance, bright is her purpose.
Harmony seeks pleasure and Earth serenades,
the light of the winter moon.
Inspiring is her flame, incandescent is her chill.
Yearning bestows a hushed prayer and Earth wishes,
upon the winter moon.
Potent is her luster, ancient is her soul.
Silence casts a sparkling web for Earth to dream,
beneath the winter moon.
I've also had a little time to reflect on why I decided to "take the plunge" and become a published author. It was a winter a bit like this one. I'd returned from Vermont sick from what I now call "The Vermont Plague" (really, it is a beautiful place and I loved it) and exhausted from a year of exploration and festivals. All I wanted was to be alone in the quiet with my pup, cozy up by the fire, and go for long walks in the winter woods. During this time of solitary reflection, I decided it was time to stop delaying.
Wonderful things can happen in the winter.
This winter has come after a year of ups, downs, and head-scratching moments when I asked myself how much longer I can keep up, and it comes down to priorities. I love to write books and I love to be out in nature. Anything that takes time away from those two things is often looked upon, by me, as irritants. I'm trying to get over it, but I acknowledge that I'm quite flawed and have a long road ahead.
2016 saw the publication of gratitude journals, the launch of a second pseudonym and contemporary genres, a couple of new books, the launch of Books & Benches as a website, the streamlining of Potterton House Author Services, the death of a beloved pet, an unusual amount of stress for someone who normally doesn't have any, and the realization that I'm not Super Woman, that last being a real downer.
It's been a good year, and I really have no cause to complain. One would think that as a writer I could come up with something overwhelmingly beautiful in lieu of "Thank You," but thank you is straightforward and conveys my gratitude to you all in the simplest and purest way possible.
Thank you for your support, your kindness, and for reading my books. Thank you for making me smile with unexpected emails about my writing or something you saw on my website. Thank you for being part of a community of readers, fans, and authors who help to make the world a better place with the written word. Thank you for a wonderful 2016. Thank you for sticking with me as the end of one year is on the horizon and the beginning of another is waiting for us to be and do the best we can in all things.
Published this season . . .
The poem "Winter Moon" is featured in the Seasons Gratitude Journal for Winter.