The winter solstice is coming on, so I made a visit to one of my very favorite places. I call it the “church in the woods,” though the placard says it’s only a theater. Whatever. I know it when I see it. It’s buried in an aspen forest on a very short bit of trail. The light in that forest is special, somehow. Golden. When you pass under that gate, you know you’re entering a different place.
I didn’t have much patience for Solstice celebrating in the Midwest. I’ve said it somewhere recently, though I don’t remember where (maybe to Sparks) that back there, you have Christmas and then you have five more months of winter. Here, on the other hand, winter is all about light. At midsummer it blazes from full sunrise by 5am to lingering dust at 10pm. Then it slips away. Bit by bit. At midwinter it isn’t full light until after 8am, and dark around 4pm. Baby, you’d better believe the Solstice means something here, and it must mean even more in the higher latitudes my northern Europeans ancestors came from.
So goodbye, Holly King. Hello, Oak King. Winter’s back will be broken by the end of January. We’ll plant radishes and lettuce in February.