Happy winter solstice!

Image created digitally from public domain image of Neuschwanstein Castle

winter solstice

Annette Marie Hyder

winter solstice comes
like a hero to hold back
the encroaching night
a rescuer of day
who has been wasting away
in the stronghold of ice and snow

now the tread of light will lengthen
once again
diminishing the dark
step by step led out and leading
at the same time
because the sun swept down

balancing precariously on the edge of sky
to the lowest point and scooped victory
from the field and placed her to his right hand
and she let him
and so the days will lengthen
and so the warmth will come

green grass and golden light
will never be overcome
red berries will tell this tale
pine needles will stitch it
in the seamless sheets of snow

winds will trumpet this news
as the black birds crow
every rock will shout it
before the cold time’s done
and it will ring in caves of bone
all the way to Jötunheimr

National Geographic reports:

Today is the winter solstice and the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s all due to Earth’s tilt, which ensures that the shortest day of every year falls around December 21.

Since ancient times people have marked the winter solstice with countless cultural and religious traditions—it’s no coincidence the modern holiday season surrounds the first day of winter.

During the winter solstice the sun hugs closer to the horizon than at any other time during the year, yielding the least amount of daylight annually. On the bright side, the day after the winter solstice marks the beginning of lengthening days leading up to the summer solstice.

Read about the astronomy that defines the winter solstice, ancient civilization’s celebrations of the winter solstice and the connection between the winter solstice and Christmas here.

Mistletoe, Nargles and Norse gods
Winter solstice moon

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