At Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, England, the sun rises perfectly between two 4000 year old columns. In the Northern hemisphere, it is the beginning of deep winter. Many cultures recognized it as the beginning of famine, the last feast of plenty until spring. That was, of course, before Nathan Wales and Alfred Mellowes invented the refrigerator in 1916. But, I digress.
The Greer household celebrates it as a time of letting go, mostly of the bad things we've carried as unnecessary baggage. A work-related inequity? Gone. An aspiration overcome by events? Recalibrate. Weather permitting, we set a fire in our backyard chiminea, write out our bits of discarded woes and toss them into the flames.
Maybe it's an ancient urge. We - my wife and I - are largely of Irish descent (my distant relatives emigrated there from Scotland). I can envision the cold, damp and very long nights in huts, burning mud to stay alive, without enough to eat. Somehow, these privations make my petty cares about not being properly respected seem...well, petty.
I'm going to retire soon from the business of training men and women to be police officers and write. Maybe it's time to let go of any regrets, and remember just how amazing my career has been. The good times, the good people, the strength of character I witnessed from my coworkers every day. The incredible bravery my friends showed in the face of mortal danger. I think I'm going to let go of the difficulties, and remember how much I care about my friends who are serving still.
What are you doing for Winter solstice this year?