I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields,
that it kisses them so gently?
And then it covers them up snug,
you know, with a white quilt;
and perhaps it says
‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1871).
The winter solstice, also known as midwinter, is an important day for us in the northern hemisphere as this is the day that has the longest night and the shortest day of the year… so this means that tomorrow the days are starting to grow longer… already! Ancient cultures viewed this day as a day of death and rebirth. This fills my heart up with joy as the promise of spring is coming, even if it will not appear before mid-April. And to add to this day, there will be a full Cold Moon.
Here is another beautiful poem by the great Ursula K. Le Guin
HOW IT SEEMS TO ME
In the vast abyss before time, self
is not, and soul commingles
with mist, and rock, and light. In time,
soul brings the misty self to be.
Then slow time hardens self to stone
while ever lightening the soul,
till soul can loose its hold of self
and both are free and can return
to vastness and dissolve in light,
the long light after time.
— Ursula K. Le Guin
Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
— by Robert Frost
Today is the beginning of winter as the Winter Solstice has officially arrived about 45 minutes ago (5:44 am). I welcome this day every year as I know that by tomorrow the days will start growing longer… and Spring will be around the corner even if still far away. At the end of February I will start feeding my houseplants. Every season brings in new hopes, new beginnings & endings. It is the beginning of the holiday season, flu season, family reunions & festivities with friends & family, it is the end of a teaching semester, of a sketchbook and of yearly resolutions… these will pass and make place for new ones this coming New Year. As the day is at its longest night, I will stay up late tonight, watching the night & the stars, cherishing its deep shadows.
Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook 8″x5″
Colours: B. Sienna, Cobalt Teal, Indanthrone Blue
Fountain Pen: Sailor Desk EF
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Ink Black
Location: Reference photograph taken by Eric Girouard
The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains the solstice this way. “It has the fewest hours of sunlight in the year.The word solstice comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still.”At the winter solstice, the Sun’s path has reached its southernmost position. However, a few days before and after the winter solstice, the change is so slight that the Sun’s path seems to stay the same, or stand still. The Sun is directly overhead at “high-noon” on Winter Solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn.”