The countdown has begun. Actually, it began the day after the summer solstice when sun worshipers like me celebrated the longest day of the year and then, with a gut punch, realized that it was all downhill from there.
Now, I’m not talking about the Miami Beach-style sun worshiper who slathers her body with sun lotion, lugs her beach chair next to the pool, and sizzles like bacon until the sun dives down behind the high-rise apartments that line Collins Avenue.
No, I’m talking about the worshiper who wakes up in the morning as the sun begins to burn a slice of empty space under a closed bedroom window shade—who revels in the promise of unlimited possibilities and the boundless energy to follow one’s fancy wherever it may lead.
There are “only” nineteen shopping days until Christmas and FIFTEEN days left until the winter solstice— the shortest, often darkest day of the year.
Okay, I can hear some of you out there mumbling about how I shouldn’t be so focused on the outer world at a time ready-made for exploring the depths of my inner world—a world rumored to be rich with golden nuggets waiting to be mined. (In fact, my yoga teacher basically pitched me this line last night. I patted her on the back, said I expected said response but that, as far as I was concerned, it was a bunch of bull—-.) I have plenty of time on my hands when the sun shines to dive into my thoughts.
I don’t know where you live but, here in the Chicago area, we haven’t seen the sun for more than a total of twenty minutes in over a week. I wilt a bit more each day. With a modicum of hope, I check the weather on my iPad every morning and, to date, all I see are symbols for clouds, maybe even little snowflake icons. And it’s only the beginning of December!
Hence, the countdown until the winter solstice and the subsequent increase in daytime hours. Apparently, I’m not the only one who celebrates the Big Day. Check out the Time article. It’s a stitch. People do some crazy stuff that day. “In Japan, people traditionally soak in hot baths with the yuzu citrus fruit to welcome the winter solstice and protect their bodies from the common cold.” Thousands visit England’s famous Stonehenge to “sing, dance, play instruments, kiss the stones and do yoga as they wait for the sun to rise.”
Maybe I’ll reenact my own Stonehenge. Dance around the frozen grass and crumpled leaves in what was only two months ago a bouquet of fall colors. Bundle up and head to Lake Michigan, stand on the rocks and do a few sun salutations. Sneak over to my neighbor’s hot tub, pull off the cover and jump in.
Hail to the end of the descent and the beginning, albeit a crawl, of longer, sunnier days.