It is noon and the sun is a dim presence barely seen through a gap in the trees. It is the winter solstice, the shortest day in the northern hemisphere.
This time of year the sun appears to grow heavy as it struggles to rise about the tree tops. It determinedly holds it position until early afternoon when it gratefully sinks back to warmer climes.
In Whitehorse, Yukon, the winter solstice means a mere 5 hours and 37 minutes of daylight. Here in Riverdale, an area of Whitehorse surrounded by mountains and thick evergreen forest, much of the light during this time resembles a dim blue ethereal glow more than sunlight as we know it. When the sun is at it's height, at times it illuminates the tree tops with a brief shaft of sunlight, before dipping behind another tree.
Today is the tipping point. Tomorrow the days will start getting longer. From now on I will notice on some unconscious level that the mornings are earlier, the sunset is later and the sun reaches higher in the sky. The air will seem lighter. I will appreciate the sun’s warming glow all the more for it’s previous absence.
Tonight, the longest night, is also a new moon. This will probably be the longest, darkest night of my 37 years of existence. In Whitehorse the sun will set at 3:47pm and will not rise until 10:10am. This year, for me, the longest night is a dying, a death of an old life. Part of me mourns for past dreams as I let them go, part of me celebrates a new life, new dreams.
This solstice, my life has reached a tipping point. We’ve had a lot of struggles, but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m slowly starting to feel more confident in my new job. The long process of getting Richard certified to teach in Canada is almost over and he has just received his transcript from the University of Alberta. We are back in Yukon, the place we know we want to call home and we are stronger now, having faced the long winter. Now we can enjoy a long summer knowing we can face whatever future winters may throw at us.
And in the Galloway household, we have another reason to celebrate, aside from our bright future... it’s my half birthday. :)