Several years ago, after having moved back to Maine, we received a phone call about 4:15 in the afternoon. It was from a good friend and former neighbor from when we lived in Houston, Texas. After exchanging pleasantry’s she asked me if it was dark outside. I assured her that it was pitch black. Sunset was right around 4:00 o’clock. With that, I heard her turn to her husband and say “see Art, I told you so. Bob says it is pitch black there.
I grew up in Massachusetts, so the shorter days of winter didn’t bother most people, and in fact, were normally taken for granted. It did however take a season for us to re-acclimate to the early loss of light after living in the South and Midwest for so many years. It seemed a little strange to feel like it was 8 PM when in fact it is only 5 PM. At first you could almost feel cheated out of sunshine.
So here we almost are again. The shortest day is almost upon us, marking the Winter Solstice. I guess, given the kind of year we have had, you could call that a good thing. So much has happened this year that has negatively impacted not just a nation, but the world. We have seen the worst and best of people and times. We have sacrificed our sense of brotherhood at the alter of isolation. Many have suffered and are still. It is a time when we desperately, longingly, hope that a new year will surrender the peace and love that we yearn for, pray for.
But the Solstice also brings the longest night. We know a lot about that since it seems we have been living it for so long now. Dimmed spirits, and darkened aspirations have been a way of life. Our nights have already been longer, ridden with worry and in some cases, depression. Searching for the first signs of light.
But, slowly and constantly, it will change. As the new year progresses, there will be a tiny bit more illumination in both our days and our lives. More time to exercise our will to find resolution. The spirit that dwells within us will champion the growth of light around us and, once again we can grasp the joy that a new day can bring.
This year I understand that the Solstice will be a little different. A little more spectacular. It will in fact coincide with meteor showers, entertaining us with shooting stars, natures fireworks. Perhaps that is a sign. I for one, am going to assume it is.