The Winter Solstice, celebrated by people all around the world, marks the return of the sun. Yule, the Germanic holiday, also coincides with the solstice. For me, the Christmas holiday begins with this mysterious day when mother nature cloaks the earth in a dark robe of gratitude and warmth. It's a promise that the light will indeed return.
Winter solstice means a lot more to me this year. I've just moved from Dallas, Texas to Eastern Oregon and the differences are stark at this time of year. The 70 degree and sunny Christmas mornings of years past have been traded for snow, ice, and real winter darkness.
Here in Halfway, Oregon it was 18 degrees this morning with a light dusting of snow on the ground. Sunrise was at 7:24am and the sun will set tonight at 4:10pm. One of the many reasons I wanted to move here was to be closer to nature - a deeper part of the cycle of the year. The shortest day of the year seems much shorter here - seasonal living is immediate and apparent in this part of the world. Its not just Christmas because Santa set up shop at the mall. Its Christmas because the angle of the sun tells you so.
The photo above was taken yesterday just 10 minutes from my new home. This is Pine Creek, a little water-way that flows from the Eagle Cap Mountains above Halfway. This beautiful landscape is my new reality and I am filled with gratitude for our new beginning.
The coming year holds a great deal of mystery for me and my family. We've just made an epic journey to a new place and we don't know how it will turn out. (Do any of us, really?) But I trust that as the days grow longer and longer, The Great Mother will reveal this new place to us little by little. Happy Solstice, dear readers, and enjoy this sacred day. (And here are some yummy inspirational photos for your enjoyment.)