Many people say that they hate this time of year with the short days and long nights.
I love it.
The dark wraps me in memories, good and bad for the year ending .
2016 started out with chemo and radiation, weakness and frustration.
Then came the summer months with travel, spending time with friends and ever-increasing strength, not unlike a harvest.
Now when I walk the village streets I smell the smoke from fireplaces. Inside people are cooking dinner. Christmas trees line the streets and decorations abound.
The cold nips at my cheeks. When I reenter my home, hot cups of tea, PJs, books, snuggling with my husband, await. An emotional comfort envelops me.
We have brought in the tree, a real one. We will decorate it before the solstice. In pagan cultures the tree was a symbol of immortality. It doesn't tell me that I am immortal, but that life is immortal. Only a real tree can do that, not plastic.
The winter solstice eventually morphed into a symbol of Christianity, the birth of Christ, the birth of a new year.
I do not share the pagan fear that without a ritual the light will never return. I know too much about astronomy.
I do know the dark is cloaking the old year and carrying it away with my blessing and I await the return of the light bit by bit each day celebrating that I have experienced both.
It is the circle of life which I am celebrating.