Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Time of winter solstice

Yesterday was the winter solstice, the day of the least sun of the year. Here in the Mid-Atlantic, we had a cloudy, grey day, which seemed a little unfair, to have so little sun on this day of all days. Even the sunrise was grey, muted. When the sun burst through sometime after 3pm, I stood at the window and stared, soaking it in, knowing it was going to be entirely gone before 5pm. I noticed the white strands of clouds, with uneven, circuitous borders, not unlike the craggy coast of Maine as displayed on a map. The blue parts of the sky were especially compelling - funny how blue the color blue can be, how many different tones it can have in one sky. Thanks be for this treasured, fleeting sun! 

This year has been a winter solstice of the soul, with so little sun
of family
of friends
of gathering.

Late yesterday afternoon, as the sun set, I sat for a special zoom session of On Being, an uplifting conversation between Krista Tippett and Lucas Johnson that was filled with reflection about this year and wonder about the new year to come. It struck me again,

this has been a long year.

These are some words that resonated with me from yesterday's live session of  On Being (I apologize that the quotes are not exact...simply notes I took while listening):

inspiration for today's program - to consider what we are carrying out of the year and into the next

many layers of loss this year; when we experience a loss, it surfaces all the other losses from earlier in our lives (Krista Tippett)

the virus allowed people - or is it forced people? - to see racial injustice; how do we make that awareness resilient? (Lucas Johnson)

this idea of 'accompaniment', the long work of transformation, we can surround ourselves with others who also carry and maybe carry for us when we can't (Krista Tippett)

we just need to do what is ours to do, develop a disposition to encounter, to support (Lucas Johnson)

how might we turn to each other with curiosity? (Krista Tippett)

this year has shown the importance of relationship, being curious to one another; we must also remember,  some of us, even in the context of our grief, have more to carry. (Lucas Johnson)  
we have a big 'action muscle,' but not a big 'reflection/discernment' muscle (Krista Tippett)

we want the people in our community to know they are accompanied, their loss is seen (Lucas Johnson)

if all we have coming out of this year are questions, this is good, we possess a great deal (Krista Tippett)

As you might imagine, the session left me in a very reflective place, giving me plenty to think about in the days to come. One takeaway - rather than writing new year resolutions this year, I think I will work on a list of questions for myself. I like that idea.

As this year draws to a close, I want to express my gratitude to Two Writing Teachers for this writing community - it has been a source of strength, inspiration, and light.

Wishing everyone a beautiful holiday season!


I wrote this post for Slice of Life.  All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, on Tuesdays. Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!


  1. Love all your quotes and reflection.
    Krista Tippet is an amazing woman!

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I for one am glad for the longer days, even though I live in the tropics where the difference between longest and shortest isn't so dramatic. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  3. Maureen, “many layers of loss” strikes a deep chord with me. I believe one thing we fear most is loss... of loved ones, of health, of jobs, of income, of security. It is important (per Johnson) that we see the loss around us, even in our own, and “accompany.” That’s what community IS. Too true that we get energized to act but not always to reflect/discern...that questioning is a great focus. It invites wisdom - something we need now more than ever. This year HAS been a winter solstice of the soul! Here’s to the long darkness beginning to lift soon, and to a new year with better things in store. Holiday joy, peace, & wellness to you and all yours.

  4. Your post really resonates with me, Maureen. This year, and especially this fall, was an incredibly dark time for me. So the significance of Solstice, right here and right now, as a bringer of light and hope, is especially powerful.

    Thanks as well for the reflections from Krista Tippett. Her perspective and wisdom is always welcome!