I'm writing just minutes after the official moment of Solstice. I've posted quite a bit about Solstice over the last few weeks (see posts below) and now must simply CELEBRATE! ... celebrate the return of Light and the promise that Life will be renewed. I, being a true lizard who loves the warm latitudes, begin to watch for signs of buds, shoots, animal activity, and increasing light in the afternoon as we travel into the real weeks of Winter. I am a hopeful optimist to a fault. I have a very big imagination for these things. I point out examples to my husband, or a friend, while on a walk, "Don't you think the rhodies are getting close to bloom?" Hope, sometimes, is just hope for evidence.

I was able to let myself fall into synch with Solstice this week as I prepared for loved ones arriving from out of town - yesterday and again mid-week. The craving to touch and hug and gaze upon those I love becomes acute. Even with those I see often. This happens to me every year. Often, by surprise, I feel everything close to the surface. My moods and emotions are charged with anticipation. The Winter darkness makes me want to pull close in kinship, to feel the safety and solace found in the presence of those who accept me and love me unconditionally. To remember and recognize these connections is joyful. A few years back, I interviewed local religious leaders for a regional parenting magazine's forum on Holiday traditions (you can see from my other posts this is a theme I repeat a lot). Here is a quote from Rev. Joyce DeGraaff, pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Medford, OR.:

“There is so much hurt in the world today and in the midst of all that darkness we need some light, and we need some joy. The whole reason for the season is to recognize and acknowledge that joy exists”

And joy descends like a soft snow. Melting in puddles of sweetness. For example:

My very precious granddaughter Sophie, who I haven't seen in 6 months, looked up at me as we sat and read last night and said spontaneously, "I love you". Her eyes met mine for just a second and then without missing a beat returned to her book. I couldn't have dreamed up a more perfect symbol for the kinship and connection that I cherish and that sustains me. One glance of love from a child and I am fueled for weeks to come. It will be a tape in my head I'll replay over and over. But I have her here for the week so I'll try to be present for all these unfolding moments and not overly gush and weep everytime she utters a profound comment. I am a way over the top nana. Way, way over the top.

From here I will unlikely be posting until sometime next week.
In the meantime, I wish everyone a joyous connection with those you love, and, really, with all Life. Let your feelings come up for air and nourishment - the love kind of nourishment. May your spirit be joyful and renewed as the Earth is renewed.

Below are some images of my lovely town, and Ken and I enjoying some respite at one of our favorite restaurants Pasta Piatti. Here we are sharing an insane gemelli dish with little pearl onions and chicken and a small perfectly made pizza. (All photos by Ken... in the restaurant the camera on timer, propped up on end of table. The second photo down was from an assignment with Ashland Springs Hotel.)

We wish you love.