It’s the second day of winter, and I’m at home, doing laundry and making food in preparation for a feast with friends tomorrow night. Oats and I celebrated Solstice a couple nights ago, and as our chosen family who live upstairs and across the yard will all be out of town, we’ll be spending most of the holiday weekend cat-sitting and hermiting instead of your typical merry-making. I’m looking forward to this: A single big dinner party, at the house of another person so that we don’t have to fuss with our own tiny home, and otherwise simply days of no obligations or distractions. I plan on reading a lot, and sewing.
For a couple years, Oats and I volunteered for the Christmas Eve shift at the community radio station, then went out for noodles. It was such an excellent alternative to the Christmas focus of everything… I wish I still had my membership at the station, so that we could have done it again. At least we can still enjoy Chinese food, though… Hopefully on Christmas day, when so many other folks will be digging into their roast turkey.
Growing up, a lot of my friends didn’t do Christmas, or they did it very differently from my family, which celebrated a sort of cynical Anglicanism that erred on the socio-cultural side as opposed to the religious end of things. Some of my friends followed religions other than Christianity, or different types of Christianity, and some simply didn’t celebrate any holidays. I didn’t know any pagans, though, or at least that I remember: No one ever got excited about Solstice, or even talked about the return of the light after the longest night of the year. Now, it’s so important to me that I can’t imagine not counting down the days or feeling giddy at the dawn. It’s such a welcome new beginning.
Walking with Mo among the garry oaks and hawthorns this morning, I was completely content, and I realized that I can’t remember the last time I felt so overall optimistic. While things aren’t perfect, and I’m still struggling with occasional bouts of intense anxiety, my heart is lighter than it has been in ages, and I don’t feel hemmed in by fog like I have in most winters past. The news of the world is dreary and terrifying, and I’m waking up to the fact that I’m okay.
It’s strange, and wonderful.
A happy Solstice to you, from all of us at FG HQ… May your new season be similarly filled with hope and joy!