The olde year now away is fled,
The new year it is entered
Longest night, but not darkest night. Not this year. Not with the moon almost full.
I went out to my spot, in the hills, tonight. My tracks were the first human tracks on fresh fallen snow, but not the first tracks. A highway frequented by rabbits, coyotes, deer, birds was laid before me. It was silent tonight, but I knew I was not alone up in those hills. The moonlight revealed all those tracks, a dizzying network of them.
The winter solstice is the anniversary of from the gap. I didn’t even think about it when I wrote The Great White Winter, didn’t really pay attention to what the date was. But now, two years to the day, it seems weighted with significance.
In the natural world, the one that is not governed by the clocks and calendars of humankind, the winter solstice is the eve of the new year. It is the shortest day (here, in the northern hemisphere), the longest night. It is the beginning of winter. It is a time when old things die and new things incubate and wait to grow.
Today is a day to think about the new year ahead, and what should be let go and what should be nurtured to grow. What should be left behind and what should be run toward. It is a time to take stock of what’s come before and plan for what’s to come. It’s a time in-between.
I think about how far I’ve come in the two years since I started writing in this space. I think about how I felt two years ago, because I remember it well. And I think about how I felt one year ago. And it seems like no time has passed, and like all time has passed. I’m not the same person I was and yet I’m more myself than I’ve ever been before.
I think about all the places I’ve been, how far I’ve travelled. I think about where I want to go next, of all the places not yet seen. And it frightens me a little, because those places are far away and I so hate leaving here. But I must, as I have before. Must go to come back.
But for now, there is no going, no leaving. There is just the stillness, of my mind, of my heart. There is just the quiet, the strength of the moon and stars and the lay of the land beneath my feet. Right now there is no need to move. I can stand still, for just a moment, as the sun stands still.