Today is the shortest day of the year, and unlike you, I couldn’t be happier. (And it’s not just because I’m a vampire who’d be content to live in a cave for the rest of my life, as long as it was warm.) Before you get all twisted into a knot about today being the worst day of the year, what with its enormously long nighttime and unjustly ripped off daytime, I’m going to ask you to hold tight for a moment (probably in the dark) to hear me out.
The shortest day of the year, despite its deep, dark depths, is a turning point that we can use as a beacon of hope.
Every day from this moment until June 20th, 2021 is going to be incrementally longer, conceivably better, indubitably brighter. We’ve reached the pitch-black pit of despair (cue: hyperbole), and while it’s still a wee bit doomy and gloomy out there, hope is on the horizon — as reliable as the rising and setting sun.
This might be an all-too-fitting metaphor for emerging from a global pandemic… covid’s darkest hour being just before dawn, yada yada yada. The pandemic reached its peak of peaks and each vaccinated day holds promise for better mask-less days ahead.
The passing of time.
You know I loves me any good chance to mark time — any kind of countdown timer, the longest day of the year, the last day of summer, a blue moon, ANY WAY to demark what was and what will be — all in service of the idea that time is passing, unapologetically, and that it will pass us by because it’s a ruthless mf-er like that. And I say that (mostly) without bitterness because I’ve accepted that Time is the Boss Around Here.
I respect and celebrate the consistent way time chugs on, second after second, day after day, through our mundane moments, our laughter, our worries, our quiet reflections, our peaks of achievement and our colossal failures. The engine of time steams on through births, climate change, mergers and acquisitions, unrequited love, pandemics, and all 10 episodes of The Crown. It’s up to us to decide how we spend that time, each precious passing moment — savored or squandered.
And so by observing this winter solstice, we can not only brim with optimism for the extra six hours of sunshine we’ll be basking in each day by 6/20/21, but we can appreciate the unfettered passing of time that continues… until one day it doesn’t.
As Virgil said… Death twitches my ear. “Live,” he says; “I am coming.”
Now go light a candle and live brightly. We can make our own sunshine.