Today is the first day of winter. Actually, the solstice occurred yesterday at 11:19 PM (EST), making today the first FULL day of winter. The winter solstice is also called midwinter, shortest day, longest night, among others, and according to Wikipedia, the hiemal solstice, a new term for me, and a new word for Scrabble!
Today is also my sister’s birthday. My only sibling, she was born when I was 7 years old and brought home from the hospital on Christmas day, the best present ever. To add to my holiday joy, her arrival was paired with the Christmas blizzard of 1966, my earliest memory of snow. So much snow. To this day, I love snow.
This morning, I got up early to watch the sun rise. No, not true, I got up my usual time, but being the longest night of the year, it was still dark. I went outside to unplug an annoying holiday light, chiding myself for leaving it on all night, for polluting the dark on the longest night, the darkest night. Out in the bitter cold, I found the yard crisply coated in beautiful sparkling frost. Hints of pink and gold began creeping in from the edges of the sky. It was magical. Thanks to that annoying lamp, I found joy in the natural beauty of this first winter morning.
Happy winter solstice, and happy birthday to my little sister. I wish you joy in the season, warmth from the cold, and opportunities to appreciate the natural beauty of winter.