The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper
And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
This also happened to be Alex's second day of vacation (he's taking two weeks) and with Solstice wishes all around, we both and the kids went into Portland to soak in the city lights, cozy shops, good smells, a celebratory lunch out and yes, sneak a few purchases here and there while the others weren't looking. We had hopes of having a fire in the fire pit this evening, but sadly it rained all afternoon, taking our first snow cover with it. We did sit together around a fire, inside, watching a movie. You may be thinking this was not a deeply mindful passing of the Solstice, to sit, watching a movie like we did, but it's the first time in a long while that we have just done nothing together. It was good enough to just hunker under blankets with the kids and cats, by our evergreen tree and pots of paperwhites that are near bursting with first snowy blooms. By the light of the fire and each other, we warmed our bodies and spirits while listening to stories about love. Perhaps it was a blessed Solstice after all.