Column: Winter solstice and a return to light

Jane Reddington

Sounder Staff

Tuesday, December 20 2016

Last week our woodbox was frozen shut. One night, at about 11:00 p.m., I went to get a few armloads of wood from the woodshed. With the snow on the ground, and a moonlit sky, the freezing temperatures had made the night a winter wonderland.

I got out my headlamp and shone it on my path, down the slippery wooden steps to the back door, and stopped for a moment to look around. It was so beautiful and peaceful that I almost didn’t want to go back inside. The moonlight made the snow sparkle, and as the cold air rushed into my body I decided to do at least one more trip so I could stay out a little longer.

I was reminded of my years at Carleton University in Ottawa when we used to lace up our skates and skate down the Rideau Canal. We’d stop for hot chocolate on the way to downtown and then skate all the way home under a cloudless sky. That was 25 years ago now. 

And as I stopped outside my house last night, the pleasure of winter came rushing back. I love this time of the year, when we are so close to the Winter Solstice, just at the tipping point when the night is the longest before we cycle back to the light. 

With Christmas coming this week, and getting our blue lights out to decorate the garden, and ornaments for the tree, this is a time for some Gabriola magic. 

When Christmas arrives and I gaze on my beautiful children, it will be about taking them out for a walk in the night. It will be about getting them out of bed to watch the Burl Ives version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on CBC. It will be about the moments that live on in our minds, like those cold skates down the Rideau Canal. 

Make some time for the quiet moments, listen for them and enjoy the return of the light.