The winter solstice has always been one of my favorite days of the year. In the middle of the holiday craziness, the solstice, to me, is about peace on earth. For weeks now, the days have been so short and cold and dark. By 4:15, it is fully dark; and in our badly lit neighborhood, that really is fully dark.
But gradually as December progresses, Christmas lights go on many of the houses and snow starts to fall and stay, reflecting what little light there is and working to make the dark less oppressive. Then the full moon comes, so bright it casts shadows of the house onto the snow and drives me out of bed to turn off the light that I'm sure someone left on in the living room, but it is only the moon in all her glory enjoying the snow as much as I am.
And then it happens. The solstice. The period between sunrise and sunset today was 2 seconds shorter than yesterday. Tomorrow, it will be 1 second longer. My logical rational mind tells me I can't distinguish that 1 second of daylight. But my heart knows and rejoices that spring is coming again, as it always has before. I like winter. I enjoy the snow and don't mind the cold (once I get used to it). I also know that for all practical purposes, winter is only starting today with January and February looming large and colder ahead of us. But there is something very old and primitive buried deep inside me that recognizes that the world's rebirth in spring begins tomorrow with just 1 more second of daylight.
This solstice was made even more remarkable by the full moon eclipse early this morning. I missed seeing it because of the snow, but knew it was there above the clouds. I got up very early this morning and spent several wonderful hours knitting (a super secret project that I'll show after Christmas) and watching the snow fall. Then I went out to shovel and found another solstice treat, the softest, lightest, fluffiest snow possible. The neighborhood was completely silent from the snow and I felt as though the morning was a present just for me; a truly perfect solstice.
Which started me thinking about the similarities between the words "solstice" and "solace". Different word origins, similar destinations.
So today, be sure to set some time aside to be good to yourself and nurture your spirit and let yourself feel the light. It's there and getting stronger every day.