The shortest day has come to us here in Washington with the evidence of Winter every where you look. We've shoveled and cleared the snow and ice from the sidewalks, fed JOTS morsels of warmed chicken and crunchy dry food and now for my first cup of hot tea with coconut milk and honey. Winter is hard work! "Now do you remember how much work it is?" Pete asked as he turned on the juicer, filling the Kitchenette with the inimitable smell of wheat grass. "I never forgot." Yesterday we spent the better part of the day light hours preparing for the storms that have come. During the `ole days we researched and decided a generator was a good idea for winter back-up. With a hundred foot extension cord the Honda gas-run generator will allow us to run the heater, air purifier and one burner on the portable stove top (new to us). Safe and warm at this moment I enjoy the comfort of the tasty sip of tea, look out across the front yard and see the winter caps of snowy Olympic Mountain peaks in the East. The sky is stretched gray flannel, layers of cloud cover that only look warm because instead they promise more winter. Yin and yang, this and that. This shortest day is Earth's Natural New Year, a new year birthday for the Earth!
The neighbor kids next door (the ones who wear stinky dry sheet dried clothes) have had an incredible time with their sleds, burning calories without knowing it, they revel in the white stuff. Today is Winter Solstice, a time recognized by some communities as CHILDREN'S DAY. "The Shambalha Community has, over the years adopted a tradition of celebrating the changes of season. These special days of celebration are called nyida days-from nyida ("sun") and dawa ("moon"). Nyida days occur on or near the days of the spring and autumn equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices. While all four nyida days are regarded as family-oriented occasions, the winter holiday, Children's Day, provides a special opportunity to express appreiation for and with our children. At a time when the weather begins to bear down upon us and we feel the gray walls creeping in, we turn to family in celebration, creativity, and generosity." So here we are with the snow, about to make a tasty breakfast omelet and warm fresh barley biscuits. There are lots of daylight hours left in this shortest day, and then the sun will sink behind that horizon. To our friends who are having a tough time today, and especially to our friend "K." who will need to heal from a broken ankle ... our warmest wishes, and care go your way.
Wherever you are at Solstice Sunset, we'll join you in spirit and celebrate all that we value, including creativity and generosity, too. My Chinese ancestors celebrate Winter Solstice with the belief that the yang, muscular, positive energy grows stronger after this day. If I could technically do it I'd include that wonderful video of Paul McCarthy singing, 'TODAY IS YOUR BIRTHDAY" and dance, dance, dance!!! Happy Birthday Earth, happy birthday to you. What a beautiful place to call home. Let us make it so.