The light changes from one moment to another and a camera cannot capture all the shades and colours. In photos, it looks darker than it really is. But from now on, the little window of daylight – from around 9.30am to 12.30 pm – is going to get longer. Gradually yes, but longer nevertheless. According to a Sami saying, the day gets longer one ptarmigan step each day. I can already feel it, and I’m sure I could smell spring in the air for the first time today when I went out. The air was full of promise. Aim for the light – even with ptarmigan steps.
The change of seasons are so intense here, and skábma, the dark season, is particularly intense that you would imagine that people would somehow mark the winter solstice. Celebrate the fact they made it again to the heart of the dark season and now we start once more moving toward the light. But they don’t and I have no idea why. It was never a day that was marked or recognized in any way. People celebrate the midsummer but in general even midsummer is no longer celebrated as a marker of the annual cycle of seasons, light, day and night. I can only speculate possible reasons: maybe people don’t see a need because of their close connection to the land (i.e., it’s too ordinary and common-place)? Or does the Christian influence make winter solstice too ‘pagan’? I really don’t know but I do know that in general people don’t celebrate enough together. I don’t mean partying and drinking, but doing something, even something simple, together to mark something or somebody. It’s not possible that we don’t have time to do it, if folks in big cities find the time to come together.
Last time I celebrated the winter solstice with friends was two years ago in Toronto where people had organized a lantern festival (check the photos of the previous post). People came with all possible kinds of lanterns and candles and many had installed magnificent illuminated art pieces and installations. It was so beautiful and appropriate in the gritty city of Toronto. Afterwards we gathered at a friend’s and colleague’s house for food and talking, meeting new people. This year we got an email from other friends who were going to have a winter solstice party at their farm outside Hamilton and who were wishing we could be there too.
It’s wonderful how people are claiming and taking back the markers of the seasons and celebrating the changes and transition of nature around us – paying attention to the cycles and time keeping of the land. Perhaps one day here too.