The Turning: Winter Solstice

After school and after the swim. After the walk with the friend and after the shopping complete. Before turning to home to what is next and the usual routines that make up our day, a detour this night. An interruption in the normal routine. A pause before going back, before keeping on doing what we’ve always done, to head to the woods and walk the trail. Such an ordinary trail on what would otherwise be an ordinary night, tonight illumined by votive candles in mason jars.

It takes something we usually can’t find to have us turn aside from the ordinary and everyday but winter solstice does it again to us this year, this once in a year possibility to mark this longest night in the northern hemisphere and to praise the potency of growing light. A turning, and yes, we not so easy at it. Not so adept at turning aside to mark and remember in the weight of these days. Tonight, our bodies lead the way. Despite all in us that resists the unfamiliar, we too want to turn, we want to remember.  

What if we gave ourselves to the turning of the earth? What if we like this great planet, turned slow and persistent towards the light? What if we claimed this moment, this night, to realign, to be recalled to what we had long forgotten was even possible? 

There are stones to lay down of burdens we have carried for so long we no longer feel their weight. We finger the texture and form of this smooth stone. 

Seeds to scatter of joy and possibility. 

Memories to recall of that time this year we really laughed.

A winding trail beneath dark trees and naked, pointed limbs, their work drawn inward and unseen as ours may be.  

The news scattered in the morning paper across the kitchen table. We know this darkness. And we don’t. Don’t know what to do with it, how to bear it, we turn the page, keep on going for what is needed and needs doing too. But tonight another calls our attention. 

Truth be told, we’ve come not so much because we are turning but the earth is. 

The stone tossed in the stream, the scattering of seeds by the 300-year-old sycamore, the remembrance of forgotten laughter. Perhaps, may it be so, a beginning.

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