February 24, 2016
By Audrey Fraizer
So much in life depends on a change in attitude. However cliche that might sound, I have found the principle to hold true during the toughest transitions.
My simplistic example—fitting of the cliche—has to do with the onset of winter. I prefer warm weather, and it took a tweaking of attitude to embrace the coming of winter.
I found it in the winter solstice (which was Dec. 22 in 2015).
Although the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, it also launches the sun’s steady climb into longer periods of light. The solstice is the first day of winter and that, to me, means the sun is turning, the days are getting longer, and summer is within reach.
There’s also a beauty to solstice. It is a celebration of light.
I can watch the transition in seasons from a chair by a window in our kitchen, and how much I see each day depends on how early I get up for my morning cup of coffee. The window faces east, away from other homes, giving me an unobstructed view to watch the sun rise over the Wasatch Mountains east of our house in Salt Lake City, Utah.
After the summer solstice (which was June 21 in 2015), I watched the sun play hide-and-go-seek within the foothills while it slowly moved south. Over the next several months, the sunrise I see from my window will slowly move north, repeating the peak-a-boo game in reverse. Granted, the progression is slow. The more days I skip in between, the more noticeable the passing of season.
I can sometimes do the same when riding my bicycle, and that also depends on how early I get up for my commute to work (on non-icy days). Light filters through the foothills, forming patches of sunlight that develop into the blanket of day. Night doesn’t seem to approach. Rather, darkness tends to fall fast like a shade pulled over a window. Night apparently lacks the grace of day.
This visible change of seasons makes the transition not only bearable but, also, significant. For centuries people have watched and recorded the movement of the sun. In the Northern Hemisphere, people sang, danced, and feasted—and some continue to do so—on the day of winter solstice. Ancient civilizations were known to make offerings when the sun dipped below the horizon to ensure its daily return.
Neighbors would not take kindly to early morning singing and dancing or burnt offerings outside my house in front of my east-facing window. But I am hopeful that the sun shines for all of us, particularly during our darkest days.