It is in the darkness that the fire shines brightest.
Tomorrow is the winter Solstice, the day with the least amount of light. Nine hours of daylight compared to the fifteen in June.
In our ever active world this season can feel like a burden. The darkness cutting into our activities. But it might be the most important time in our seasonal cycle.
We are on the cusp of winter, the trees have gone shed their leaves, the plants are all dormant, the mammals have cozied up in their dens to hibernate, it’s time to rest.
While it’s not entirely practical to hole up in your house for days on end, there are ways we can embrace the season and enjoy what I call active rest.
Beginning today, through tomorrow (the Solstice), and continuing to the next day I would like to invite you to see and participate in these darkest of days.
The sun hangs low in the southern sky casting long shadows through the day. In the morning look out and see the shadows, follow them across the landscape, do you notice the utility pole shadow, a nearby building, how different they look this time of year. At noon, observe how the shadows still stretch, much longer than at summer’s high noon. In the evening, go outside and cast your own shadows as you bid goodnight to the sun.
Take a Walk
Instead of trying to run away from the cold and darkness, take a slow walk and welcome winter. When you can, bundle up and find your way outside to take a slow, intentional walk. Breathe in the crisp air, observe how the shadows stretch out before you, listen to the sounds around you - there may be birds, squirrels, or even no sound, the silence of the season. Think how it is only now, in this season, when things become still and quiet. Take that stillness with you.
Welcome back the sun
From now until June 20th the daylight slowly starts to return. Greet the morning, welcome the sun (even if it’s cloudy, it’s up there somewhere). The darkness brings lessons, good or bad be thankful for them, the light will add more perspective.
If all of that sounds too “woo woo” then welcome the sun by eating an orange. The golden orange fruit to nourish your day, to welcome the sun’s return.
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.