The longest night, the shortest day. When we gather around fires, and around evergreens, and tell stories about death and rebirth, to celebrate that it’s the darkest time again, and so it’s going to get lighter now.
And as well as to celebrate, we cuddle up to reassure ourselves and each other that it is, in fact, going to do that getting-lighter thing again. And maybe to have company while we worry, a little, that this time it might not.
But it always does.
A pendulum is fastest at the bottom of its swing, and pauses at the high points at the ends. But the year, I think, is slowest at the bottom of its swing, and down here at the Winter Solstice we feel everything pause in the darkness and the cold, everything holds its breath, motionless for a moment.
We hold our breaths, long enough to look around, make sure that the warm place, the bright place we’ve secured in the darkness, is all ready, all warm, all bright. So the moment of most-dark can pass easily, quickly, smoothly, with us quiet and watching, and after that breath-held dark-quiet pause, motion can start again, and later the sunrise, and not too long after that the Spring.