When people talk about the winter solstice, they talk of the return of the light.
The light is shorthand for longer days, of course, but so much more. The light as goodness. The light as hope. The light as wellbeing. The light as leaving your house without multiple layers of clothing to protect you from cold and rain.
We do not, for the record, talk about the summer solstice as a herald of the coming darkness, so forgetful are we as we revel in the abundance of light.
Winter is not my preferred season, for all that I have worked to appreciate it. SADD is real, and it is hard on body and soul. But there is something beautiful in the recognition that we feel these effects because we are creatures of the natural world.
Nature affects us, and we make sense of this with culture. We counter the short days and cold nights with celebrations of light and gathering, as this essay so beautifully describes.
2017 has been challenging, personally as well as collectively. But as I reflect on the year, the darkness reveals the good, of which there is much in the world.
My hope for 2018 is that we can again share some sense that this culture thing, with its light and dark in varying measure, is something we do together.