Ode To The Winter Solstice
Updated: Jul 13
An alternate title would be, Yay The Days Are Getting Longer. But, Ode to the Winter Solstice sounds so sophisticated.
I Googled the word “ode”–a lyric poem that is meant to be sung. Since I don’t write poetry of any type, this blog isn’t really an ode. It’s just a blog.
Like me, ancient civilizations celebrated the winter solstice and the promise of long summer days. In the summer, I am free to cook supper on the patio and take evening walks without a flashlight.
On long road trips I never have to drive in the dark. All of my landmarks and driving directions include things that I can see in the daylight.
“Turn at the blue house.”
“Look for the purple bush out front.”
And then one dreary November night, daylight savings time ends and the time of the great darkness begins. It’s a time of commuting to work in the dark, commuting home in the dark, and only enjoying the sunshine on weekends.
The sun never rises above eye level, not even at the noon hour.
The first week after the time change, all of my references shift. There is no blue house, only a bunch of glaring porch lights that all look the same. Forget the purple bush. And, when had that neon sign gone up? I’d never noticed it before.
Every year, I miss a turn on my way home from work because the world changed. No matter that I’ve driven this route for years. I find myself in an unfamiliar neighborhood in the dark.
I try to combat the darkness. I put out white Christmas lights from the beginning of November until the end of February. Call them “Winter Lights.” My kids say it is because I am lazy, but in my defense, I don’t have any automatic lights . . .and the neighborhood is very dark . . .and bears live nearby. Although bears might be hibernating. They know enough to sleep through the time of the great darkness.
I’ve found a few advantages to the long nights. I don’t have to get up very early to enjoy the wonder of a sunrise. And no one expects me to do outside chores after work. Perhaps it is a time of rest, when I can tuck in my house with a novel.
By the end of December, I’ve re-oriented myself and found new landmarks. I’ve grown used to the darkness.
“Forget the blue house. Look for the bright yellow sign.”
And then the winter solstice comes. A time of hope that the days will grow longer. Spring will come.
I considered trying my hand at writing an actual ode, but dismissed the idea after a few sappy lines. Just know that I am singing on the inside—something about the sun. Think Beatles. (or click the picture to get a song stuck in your head)
Now, that’s my kind of ode.