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The winter solstice:

the shortest day of the year

and the longest night

marks the first day of winter.

The term solstice means ‘sun stands still’:

an observance of the the seemingly endless darkness,

which accompanies the winter season.

Since ancient times, people have celebrated the solstice

anticipating the sun’s eventual return –

and bright days.

Today the winter solstice is often called the ‘holiday season’

as during this time people from many cultures/religions

celebrate special days marking a time of reflection on

hope,   promise,  optimism

 

To Winter

Stay, season of calm love and soulful snows!
There is a subtle sweetness in the sun,
The ripples on the stream’s breast gaily run,
The wind more boisterously by me blows,
And each succeeding day now longer grows.
The birds a gladder music have begun,
The squirrel, full of mischief and of fun,
From maples’ topmost branch the brown twig throws.
I read these pregnant signs, know what they mean:
I know that thou art making ready to go.
Oh stay! I fled a land where fields are green
Always, and palms wave gently to and fro,
And winds are balmy, blue brooks ever sheen,
To ease my heart of its impassioned woe.

by Claude Mckay, 1889 – 1948

claude-mckay-448

Writer.  Poet.  Significant figure of the Harlem Renaissance

(image from poetry foundation)