I've been celebrating solstice in New Mexico now for the last 38 or so years. Many of my southern California friends don't understand why anyone would want to head towards the snow and cold, rather than run from it. I guess it's a matter of what you're used to. For me, a change of seasons is a wonderful thing. It helps me feel the cycles of life - to be in touch with a sense of ending and a sense of beginning. Solstice is, after all, the planet's New Year. This shortest day of the year marks the beginning of the returning of the light.
In Chinese medicine there's a deeply felt connection with the seasons and the cycles of life. There are entire treatment protocols based on the time of day, the season of the year etc. It's a medicine that views people as part of a web of life - not separate from it. The cycles of the seasons that we see around us is reflected within us, and our health depends upon our ability to flow through the changes without getting seriously "stuck" in any one season, emotion, pattern of behavior, etc.
I'm looking forward to the coming year with anticipation and wonder. I fully expect there to be changes - those come with life, after all. I like the sense of slowing down that happens at the end of the year - a pause before beginning a new cycle. It's a good time to take time to stop, reflect and gather your strength before the next cycle gets into full swing. I don't know about you, but I find myself reaching for my journal more often. Some of my friends remember more of their dreams at this time of the year.
What about you? What do you feel about the long nights and cooler temperatures? Am I the only one who appreciates a little "hibernation" time?