We're close to the winter solstice now and it seems like I no sooner get started on my chores than it gets dark. I still need to cut and stack more firewood and clean up the remains of the garden fencing. Aside from that frustration, I actually enjoy this darkest time of the year. Instead of being busy outside until late in the evening, I have time for an early supper, connecting with family, a fire in the fireplace, and a good book. There's an incredible beauty to the nights this time of year, too. I went out with the dawg a little while ago, and the full moon was perfectly centered in the bare branches of the trees, winking and grinning as it cast a gentle silver light over the yard.
I've always loved the beauty of a winter night. Sometimes I'll wrap up in a big ol' wool blanket and sit out in my patio swing watching the moon striking diamonds in the snow, creating a luminous landscape of silvers and blues. Orion hovers above the eastern horizon, his bow ever at the ready while over my shoulder Venus glows with a steady white light, putting me in mind of the Bethlehem Star. The air is still and crystalline, thin and pure, making each breath a treasure. The stars come closer in the icy cold sky, and it seems if I just sit quietly enough I'll be able to hear them singing. Truly the heavens declare the glory of God! Finally the cold works through the blanket and I retreat to my warm living room, refreshed, calm and at peace, thankful to live out in the countryside where nothing blocks my views or interferes with the peacefulness.
Peace and beauty, stillness and rest. May the blessings of a December night be yours.