Saturday dawned clear and bright, an unexpected surprise when I stepped out of the bedroom and realized I could see for miles. I didn’t appreciate just how much I’d missed seeing my northwest to southern skyline until it stopped me dead in my tracks. It has been two full weeks since I’d seen that view. Two weeks since I saw sun bright enough to make me squint.
During the work week in these days of shortened daylight, I get used to leaving the cabin before it’s fully light and then not returning home until after dark. Last weekend was rainy, foggy and never got very light even during the day, so I couldn’t see much even when I was at home during the day. This weekend, the weather finally cleared, and suddenly I could see for miles again.
In another week, the light will pass the far turn and begin its slow increase again. Is it any wonder why the winter solstice was so celebrated by those who came before us? In the long eras before electricity, the long nights must have weighed very heavily on people. They didn’t have electric lights or full-spectrum lights or much of any lights at all to brighten the night’s long hours. We do have such things, and even so the thought of longer days to begin in just another week is enough to brighten my mood.
It’s no wonder to me that many calendars start the new year with the first coming of the longer days. The longer days mark a new beginning, a new revolution of the circle of the year. I think I will mark the occasion this year, too. I will light a candle for those who lived before, who lived before humans learned to push aside the darkness and for whom the coming of the year’s new light was a day of celebration. Today, I can understand why that was so important to them, and for this lesson, I will give thanks.