Friday, December 16, 2016

More light!--A desperately needed Solstice.

This is not here. We have no sun here, no blue sky.  I don't want to go out into the dark to take pictures.
It's dark right now, at 4:30 in the afternoon. Not inky dark yet, but a cold grey darkness that seems to have lasted for days. There is no snow on the ground to amplify the weak light.

Even indoors, it feels dark. The Christmas Tree barely lights the room around it. Full-spectrum lights in the kitchen can't touch the dark corners of the room or in ourselves.

This is never a good time of year for me. I definitely feel the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder. (SAD, how cute😠.) The darkness becomes tangible by mid November. From Thanksgiving through Valentines Day I'm a little off--sadder, slower, more tired.

Darkness, even more than the cold, serves as a wall to keep people like me out of Canada (and Scandinavia). I follow a couple of bloggers from Toronto. The city looks lovely and sounds like a great place to live--in the summer. The northerly latitudes are for hardier folk. When I start thinking of moving, especially this time of year, I think about Hawaii, or Ecuador.

2016 has been an especially dark year. This is the year that pain and mental confusion stole my ability to teach in the classroom. This is the year that district kicked me into disability limbo instead of finding work where I can use my planning abilities and twenty-four years of experience.

Pain, confusion, helplessness  entwined with finally having time to get politically involved. I'm hoping my desperate fear of the upcoming presidential term is mostly displacement of all the hurt I feel over leaving my job the way I did. But so many people seem to feel the same way that it's hard to convince myself  I'm just overreacting.

My ancient European ancestors were overreacting if they genuinely feared the sun would not return without Solstice rituals.

But they were clearly right that this turn in the season, the return of light and promise of eventual spring, is worth celebrating. This year the Solstice is December 21--this coming Wednesday.

Celebrating Solstice is simple. During this complicated preparation time before Christmas, simple is a blessed relief.

For those of us who are not committed pagans, there aren't  generations of family traditions to keep. Stores are not urging last-minute Solstice purchases or playing annoying variations of popular Solstice songs.

The most complicated my Solstice ever got was with colleague gifts one year. Instead of a Christmas card, I gave a Solstice cards and candles. Here is a haiku I wrote for the occasion.

Winter's icy haze
is pierced by this bright promise:
the Sun will return

The tradition all over Europe is to light a bonfire. (That seems to be how all holidays are celebrated there. We may be missing out.)

 In the Salt Lake area, it has been windy enough that bonfires and fireplace fires should be allowed next Wednesday without violating smog restrictions.

My tradition is even simpler. I light a candle. Often several. And I keep lighting candles in my kitchen window night after night until I don't feel the darkness any more.

So Wednesday, light a candle, or a bonfire. Light one for me too. I'll light one for you.

THE KNITTING (which you can find in my shop just in time for Christmas )

Outdoor Solstice celebrations require warm clothing. I own a Solstice sweater, and have sold one from my shop, but hats make more sense for most customers. This week I knit a hat in three different "sun symbols" of my creation.
 I made one with bare winter trees and pale sunlight.
There is also one with lit matches all the way around it. I imagined that pattern right before falling asleep. I think it is a little troubling.

Could I really hurt someone so odd?
(Poe's hypnogogic state is pretty freaky. A few nights ago I fell asleep imagining I was stepping on the face of a platypus. I also was that platypus. All of it had something to do with perspective in writing. I'm not making that image into a knitting project. But I bet there is a pattern somewhere)

Anyway--I also have a sunrise hat I knit earlier
 and an orange one that just looks cheery.

 An appropriate choice for snazzier dressers is this golden lace rectangular stole

 or a large square shawl the color of summer skies.

 All of them are available in my shop. Orders made immediately should arrive at US addresses in time for the Solstice. You have a couple more days to get things in time for Christmas. Locals please convo me and I can arrange a drop off to save you the shipping charge.
My muses from literature--Mme. Defarge and Miss Marple

I hate asking for sales when more important things are happening. But I need yarn to keep myself sane and busy indoors (and to record the revolution in code like Madame Defarge).

You need to keep your ears warm while sledding, caroling, or protesting.

 Let's help each other.


  1. The ebst thing about the shortest day of the year? It is time to start planning my summer Haute Couture. It also means it is only six months until my date of gift. The day God game me to the world. Now that is some fun.

    LOL :)

  2. Happy half-birthday. Let me know when you decide which colors I should be wearing come summer.