Sunday, December 21, 2014

Solstice--The Light Returns

We are at the Solstice, that time of the Earth's turning when day is shortest and night holds one last grip of our 24 hours. Soon we will see the sun returning bit by bit, a few minutes earlier in the morning, and setting a few minutes later in the evening.

It's time to being in the evergreens, light the bonfires, slow down and pay attention to the universe that holds us. Bring out favorite poetry and music, curl up during long winter evenings with a cup of eggnog, cider, wassail, wine or hot tea and let the winter winds blow.

Today I'm sharing a few of my favorite poems and songs for this season. Below you will find a link to my past posts about this season; as I read through them again myself I realized that this is one of my favorite times of the year; perhaps it is because I do slow down, just briefly, to acknowledge the power of our natural world over our lives--and to accept that busy as I may be, the world continues exactly as it always has in its measured rhythms and cycles. There is comfort in knowing that whatever change we humans might effect, underneath it all life continues with little regard for our strivings. We are but a drop in time, and recognizing that keeps us humble.

The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!

A Solstice song for this chilly time of year from the Wyrd Sisters.


All out of doors looked darkly in at him
Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze
Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.
What kept him from remembering what it was
That brought him to that creaking room was age.
He stood with barrels round him -- at a loss.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once again
In clomping off; -- and scared the outer night,
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar
Of trees and crack of branches, common things,
But nothing so like beating on a box.
A light he was to no one but himself
Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,
A quiet light, and then not even that.
He consigned to the moon, such as she was,
So late-arising, to the broken moon
As better than the sun in any case
For such a charge, his snow upon the roof,
His icicles along the wall to keep;
And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt
Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted,
And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept.
One aged man -- one man -- can't keep a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It's thus he does it of a winter night.

Let's finish with one more beautiful song for this season, and a link to more Solstice posts on this blog

Merry Solstice, my friends!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Darkest Time of the Year

I found this ceramic tree last summer. It's really red and
white but looks pink in this photo.
 It's a gray, cold, damp day. A threat of rain or perhaps snow flurries is in the air; it's December, and the darkest time of the year as we approach the Solstice.

I remember when this time of year was a difficult one for me. Perhaps it was a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or perhaps it was just because in those days before we had electric lights here, the dark came so soon and even the days were often like today's weather, gloomy and overcast so that the house seemed to be dark all the time.

Nowadays I don't mind December's dark. I am busy from the time I get up until fairly late at night, sometimes even stretching one day into the next. I admit, I like the sense of nesting that December brings as my focus turns back to home and homely things. I tidy shelves and closets and storage baskets, sort out clothes no longer worn and the oddly growing lot of bottles and tubes in the bathroom storage areas. I think about what I want to sort out next, and enjoy looking at the places I've organized once again.

This year I'm having a hard time finding time for my usual December routines. Since I began selling antiques and vintage things my days have become busier and busier. Now I'm doing more painting, and we have more booths to maintain. I enjoy it all, but I am missing my "quiet" period during the weeks before and after the holidays.

So today I shifted back to old ways and enjoying a day of puttering around the house, tackling whatever takes my fancy. First was bathroom cabinets, second those booth totes that needed sorted out and re-stored until our next trip to restock. Then it was on to more cleaning, sorting, putting away. A nice pile is ready for the donation center. Tonight I'll write thank-you notes and pay bills. And just maybe make some cookies, although I haven't had the urge to do much baking this year.

It's been a good day so far. I hope yours has been too.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tree's Up!

We finished our tree this weekend. Now to take down the Indian corn that's still hanging by the driveway! It's funny how we can miss something we pass by every day. Larry even put lights up right beside it and didn't notice the corn.

Still way behind this year on getting things ready for the holidays. I think we'll do the 12 days of Christmas this year and leave it all in place until January 6th! At least we'll have time to enjoy it before packing it away again.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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