The Shortest Day — The Longest Night

Stonehenge at Winter Solstice, shortest day of the year, first day of winterToday is the first day of winter, the shortest day of the year, and precursor to the longest night. This was the time when primitive people “called back the sun” by lighting solstice fires on the hillsides.

This is when people with Seasonal Affective Disorder fight depression and folks try to outdo their neighbors by putting up more Christmas lights. It’s a time of opposites and contradictions: joy and sadness, caution and optimism, fear and hope.

I am tempted to break my “No Politics” rule because these diametric opposites today affect our political situation most severely. To write about that, however, I would have to go to a very dark place and I am loath to do that four days before Christmas.

Finding Joy Despite the Shortest Day

Instead, I would rather look for joy wherever I can find it. When I meditate, I begin by listing some of the things for which I am grateful. Here are a few. I am thankful for:

  • My good health, strength, and fitness.
  • My family, who are all alive and in good health.
  • Having a roof over my head, enough money to buy food and medication, to keep the lights on and the heat up.
  • All the communities and friends in my life: Boston By Foot volunteers, fellow writers in the Spacecrafts Writers’ Group, the regulars at the Longfellow Clubs’ water aerobics classes, members of the choir and the Board of Trustees at the First Parish of Sudbury and all the people who belong to the parish, former colleagues from high-tech companies who have remained friends.
  • The safety of our New England, which suffered no flooding, drought, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes or blizzards (so far) in 2017.
  • Wicked Reports, a marketing client for nine months. Thanks to them, we took the Viking Grand European cruise in June and I built an office in the loft.

I also greatly appreciate the people who read this blog—all of you. Every day I thank you for the time you spend reading my ideas and stories and, I hope, forwarding them to others.

Grateful for Angel Time

Choir of angels, angel time, shortest daySurely, I have missed a lot that did not come immediately to mind. I am grateful for every day that I am upright, ambulatory and above ground.

I appreciate every opportunity that comes my way to be kind and helpful to others, to change their lives for the better even if only for a few moments, and to bring a ray of sunshine into their day. These opportunities are a privilege, a chance to act as one of God’s angels on earth.

For today, at least, I will ignore the Grinch lurking in the political corner and look for the light wherever I can find it. Sunset will come all too soon but tomorrow the days get longer, bit by bit. Counting the days, we have:

  • Fenway Park, Home Opening game, Red Sox, Major League Baseball

    Fenway Park Opening Day 2017

    4 days until Christmas

  • 11 days until 2018
  • 45 days until the Super Bowl
  • 54 days until pitchers and catchers report
  • 89 days until spring
  • 105 until the Red Sox home opener at Fenway Park
  • 116 days until the Boston Marathon
  • 182 days until summer.

Somewhere, although I can’t count them yet, are the days until I give my first Boston By Foot tour of 2018 and our next vacation. There will be birthdays, especially for our granddaughters, and other celebrations. Today may be the shortest day but I have much to appreciate and more to look forward to.