A Solstice Reflection

winter sunset

Image Credit: Zach Dischner

Updated December 21, 2016

Every year, in my part of the northern hemisphere, the leaves forsake the trees and the snow starts to fly in December. Nature is still. Dormant. Even the animals that remain active through the cold, dark months have changed—instead of seeking out mates and producing young, they’re in survival mode, scurrying around in search of food and shelter. Earth is tipped on its axis away from the sun’s warmth and light. The days grow shorter and shorter. When I wake, the sun is barely over the horizon. By late afternoon, it’s sinking low in the sky. This is December—a time for descending into darkness, for hunkering down, for settling in to ride out the bleak months.

But in late December, a small, miraculous thing occurs. On the eve of the solstice, we slip into the longest, darkest night of the year. At this time of year, many of us partake in traditions, most with ancient origins, designed to fight back against the darkness. Instead of surrendering to the gloom, we light our homes and hearths. Our towns put up seasonal decorations. We deck our halls in red and green, silver and gold. Candles glow in our windows. We wish each other peace and joy. We celebrate the love of family and friends. Christians celebrate the birth of the Son, the Light of the World, while Jews light the menorah to commemorate the miracle of a one-day supply of oil lighting the Maccabees’ lamps for eight days. Pagans place a Yule log on the fire to symbolize warmth and light and sustenance.

On the solstice, the longest night of the year, a tiny bit of cosmic magic will take place and gradually, day by day, the light will grow. Instead of our days getting progressively darker, now they will get progressively lighter. It will take a while for the earth to warm again, but warm it will, and spring will come, bringing new growth, followed by the warmth of summer, and eventually the harvest, and then the decline into autumn as nature grows quiet again and heads back into its long winter’s sleep.

You see, it doesn’t matter what we celebrate. No matter whether we’re saying “Merry Christmas,” “Happy holidays,” “Blessed Yule,” or “Happy Hanukkah”… nature will do what nature does, quietly and simply. And every year I’m in awe.


Trump supporters, don’t ask me to just accept it . . . or to accept you

red crowd

This wasn’t about Red versus Blue for me; it was about Trump, and everything he represents, versus Humanity. And Trump won.

I see people—both random strangers and friends/relatives—complaining about the Left’s reaction to the election. “If your side had won,” they say, “you wouldn’t see me crying about it. Why can’t you just lose with grace?” Here’s why:

I’m not sad and angry and scared because Clinton lost, I’m all of those things because Trump won. I’m losing sleep and feeling traumatized because Trump’s victory wasn’t just a victory for the Republican party, it was a victory for bigotry, racism, sexism, misogyny, demagoguery, and fear. (Don’t take my word for it; read Slate’s article listing 230 reasons why Trump is unfit to be president. It’s well-researched and annotated.)

I cannot just sit down and accept defeat gracefully. Although there’s no such thing as a perfect candidate, and Clinton certainly has her faults, a sizeable portion of the electorate chose to villainize a flawed woman with 30+ years of experience and many significant accomplishments as a public servant in order to bring a despot to power.

Make no mistake: this was never about Republicans versus Democrats. Trump’s win was a victory for a man who has made a mockery of what it is to be inclusive, accepting, and kind. And if you’re okay with that, then I’m sorry but, no matter how much I love you and care about you, your support for him hurts and disappoints me, and I can’t be okay with it. You may say that you’re not racist, sexist, misogynistic, or homophobic, but support for Trump signifies that you’re okay with him and his contemporaries being that way, which means you don’t care enough about minorities, women, or LGBTQ people to be concerned for their rights as human beings.