For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this phenomenon manifests itself in a late dawn, an early sunset, and a short day and a long night. This astronomical event, caused by Earth’s tilt on its axis, is always a defining moment for me. I learned in science class that my noon time shadow is the longest at this time of the year, but my body feels curiously rejuvenated. It is as if I have passed through an invisible barrier and as I come out on the other side’s upward, circular pathway, I am energized. Even though the arc of the sun still rides low against the sky, I feel my spirit elevating.
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” (Albert Camus)
My own house of life wants to open up the front door just a little bit wider to let in the extended precious minutes of sunshine. The cold crisp air and occasional snow and ice of the winter season do not discourage me. The white fluffy blanket covers up the bland landscape and softens and muffles the sounds of nature. There are no shouts, only whispers. The ice crystals on the bare branches create twisted, jeweled wands that glisten in the afternoon sunlight and create a magical image.
I am climbing up the hill once again in a new year, and I try not to look back over my shoulder at regrets or past, personal short comings. It is a quiet time. It is a time to ponder and to dream. It is a time to reflect and to rest. For all too soon, the activity will accelerate and the earth will once again come out of hibernation and buzz with excitement and energy and I will get lost in its momentum.
Shh-h-h. Listen to the stillness.
Savor the silence and let it feed your soul.
Smile and enjoy your upward hike.