Winter Solstice

I'm glad that today marks the shortest day of the year. 

I'm not particularly happy when the days are shorter, even if the temperatures are mild, as they've been this year.  It's still dark when I get up, and dark before I finish cooking dinner.

Yes, I remember my days in Germany when it was even darker, and the light was for a shorter period of time, and I now imagine my friends elsewhere in Northern Europe (Ireland, the Netherlands, UK) enveloped in the dark, but...  I'm glad the days will be getting longer.

We have often been off to much brighter places by now, having traveling at winter break, as academics for decades, without family obligations around holidays.

Home this year, in the mountains, for the first time, it's interesting to mark the solstice, and the holiday season.  Neither of us are religious at all, now in midlife, but we've grown up with the secular traditions of Christmas, and my gardening companion, with the traditions of Catholic celebrations behind him -- well, we enjoy marking the transition of Christmas and New Year's wherever we've been in the world. And we'll do that here in our mountain town in Western North Carolina.

That's often included Christmas Eve masses in small parish churches in Latin American countries, or a massive one in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, or a freezing one in Rome, up on the hill, on a trip to Italy after 9/11.

Lights in Hoi An
But what I'm remembering this evening is a wonderful Full Moon celebration in Hoi An, Vietnam.

We had wonderful trips there over two travel seasons.