Plain As Dirt: Holiday lost among the holiday season
VAIL ” This is one of my favorite days of the year. You may be asking, “What ” the Monday before Christmas?” No, that’s a non-event.
Yesterday marked the winter solstice ” the shortest day of the year. Consequently, today begins a lengthening of the sunlit hours to be enjoyed in a day. I like the fact that this natural return of lengthening days occurs during the holiday season. It’s a naturally optimistic event that occurs with little notice or fanfare by most people ” sort of a holiday lost among more ostentatious religious holidays.
I think we’re missing a sure-fire day to call off work, close schools and spend the day getting ready for the other holidays that occur about this time of year.
It would be a pagan event embracing everyone, providing for everyone a chance to appreciate being alive on the face of this heavenly body. We would celebrate something or nothing more certain than our appreciation of the world turning on its axis.
We need a day of celebration unencumbered by faith or politics, a holiday resting on hard evidence that our world reliably renews and reinvigorates upon each turn. Don’t you think a little fiesta would be nice upon the winter solstice?
For those of you silently crunching the numbers surrounding a day absent of work, in the United States, productivity the week before Christmas approximates nil. (Okay, so the hospitality industry is pretty productive this time of year. But give the rest of the world another day off, and you’ll only reap benefits.)
Furthermore, we have certainly trumped up some hoo-ha for a celebration of lesser events ” such as, for instance, Groundhog Day. Why not a celebration of more sunshine as a certainty, unlike the uncertainty of a rodent reading the shady portents in its shadow?
I don’t know of anybody that doesn’t enjoy a little more sunshine in their days. Over the years, I have e-mailed good friends whose lives are more detached from the natural turn of events than my fingers-in-the-soil lifestyle, pointing out for them the significance of the winter solstice. In return, I invariably receive a brightly written note of thanks. I always receive an acknowledgment from recipients noting that by having their consciousness raised from their desktops and laptops toward looking out the window, their workday got a little upward kick.
This winter solstice thing is a natural. It’s real and, I think, really necessary. Take the rest of the day off. It’s sunnier today than it was yesterday. And it’s only going to be sunnier tomorrow ” regardless of the forecast.