Midwinter’s Day dawned here with freezing fog that whitened the grasses and faded the trees from view.
It is the Winter Solstice — that time when the sun has reached the lowest point of its annual arc across the sky. That means the days will begin to grow slowly longer again, with the promise of eventual warmth and returning spring.
To me it is the midwinter holiday — based in the reality of Nature and the changing seasons, entirely dogma-free, and as yet seemingly undiscovered by the vast commercial interests.
So, glad Yule, everyone — a happy Winter Solstice, and hope for better times than the miasma of greed and self-interest the United States finds itself mired in at present.
Here is an odd little poem from the 1890 Friends Intelligencer:
IN WINTER TWILIGHT
Bitter and bleak is the closing day;
The wind goes wailing, the sky is gray,
And there’s never a bird on bough or spray, —
Alas, how dreary!
But summer will surely come again,
The earth needs snow and cold and rain,
Just as our hearts need grief and pain.
And so be cheery!
As for the grief and pain, well, it is said in legend that the Buddha set off on his path to enlightenment after seeing an aged man, a sick man, a dead person, and finally, a monk seeking the path to deliverance from the round of human suffering. James Buckham may have had a point.