Winter Solstice

Watercolor on paper

Today is the darkest day of the year.

Yet here, in the darkness,

the light becomes clearer.

The Winter Solstice has always been a big part of my life. Ever since I was little, my family would carve out time for reverence, carved out time to accept the darkness, and carved out time to find the light. 

Since I can recall, my family took time every winter solstice to sit inside the darkness and with light. We would take candles, put on our snow clothes, then sit with our candle until it went out, well try to anyway, my sister and I were pretty little.

I think my parents wanted my sister and I to understand the balance between light and dark, to understand, especially as women, that a good life was not one full of pure happiness, but one that struck harmony between the dark and the light. Because only once we’ve tasted darkness, can we truly understand the light. 

Over the years, our “candle time” evolved as we did, I distinctly remember choosing smaller and smaller candles because I knew I didn’t want to spend my time wishing I could be somewhere else.

Now, we light a path through our woods with candles, now we share this balance of darkness and light with friends and family, and it’s become a bit of an institution. 

Today’s piece is of the snow grottos we make to light the trail behind our house. When they are filled with big candles, you can see the grottos through the woods, you can see the points of light that pull you through the darkness, through yourself, and back home.

And that is what I think this time of year is about: creating light that shines brighter because of the darkness; creating light that carries us through the darkness; creating light for us to trust that even if we can’t see it in front of us, we know that further down the trail, they’ll be another pocket of light to guide us, on and on.