Racing around like a mad woman today trying to get the turkeys to the processor, hay loaded and unloaded, everyone fed and watered, paperwork more or less in order for tomorrow’s turkey pick-up and sale, it was hard to remember that the Winter Solstice is a day of joy and cause for celebration. Mostly, I was wishing I had just a few more minutes of daylight so I could get a few more things done outside.
Though it’s tempting to just keep on rushing to try to squeeze just a bit more into each short day, poems like The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper are a good reminder that this is a time for celebration of a very elemental sort.
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.
So there you go, my mood is perfectly balanced between frenetic and celebratory and plain old gloomy, kind of like the Winter Solstice itself.