A Winter Welcome

The year-end wrap up is quickly approaching and today, the Winter Solstice (from where I sit in the northern hemisphere of this lovely planet), seems like a good time to share a final post for 2015. I am sorting photos and backing up files, recycling papers no longer valid, and - one of my favorite traditions - starting to write plans in my new date book for 2016 (yes, I still like a pen and paper calendar rather than electronic one). While, like much of the world, I follow the Gregorian calendar, I also love learning about cultures that have their own schedule for the year mapped out. Like the Chinese calendar, which celebrates the new year in January or February, or even the Persian calendar in which the new year starts on the Spring Equinox. If I were to create my own calendar, I might shift the end of the year to the solstice in December... today... because it seems a little more natural to me. As a side note, did any of you realize that we end and begin each year in the same season (a.k.a winter or summer depending on where you are)? 


Winter light filtering through the forest.


As a 'northerner' I think winter is a fitting beginning and end to each year and I look forward to the point in the yearly cycle with the least amount of daylight. I find now is a good time to put things to rest and get ready to start new, as many of us do as we head out of the current year and into a new one. Then, I work towards the 'light crescendo' - Summer Solstice in June - with the most amount of daylight, and which is the time of year I was born. I've been wondering why someone born during such a bright time of the year would also look so forward to the darkness six months later. What I've come up with is that it must be a part of my personal Universal cycle. Since we are all attached to a planet that takes 365 spins to circumnavigate our sun, we most likely have our own innate 'year' that we follow within that time frame, depending upon when we are born. At least that's my theory (and if you test it, let me know!). Mine just happens to be during the Winter Solstice; it's my mid point, my yin to my yang. And I am comforted by the balance it creates in my year. So I try to honor that point in time and it's becoming a little more important in each passing.


Barren can be beautiful.


I feel myself getting quiet right now, both in verbal and written words. Perhaps this is part of the balancing, or just the natural slowing down that the chill of winter and the darker days bring. Whatever the reason, my camera has become an important tool in communication. I pick it up more with intention of capturing my feelings, rather than the scenery. These photos become windows that I can look into as well, and seem to show a quality that is more abstract, moody, and... quiet. Is it me, is it winter, or is it a bit of both? 


Playing with bokeh.


Putting aside whatever calendar we follow, those of us entering the season of Winter today now make the turn back towards the light, and eventually Summer again. We are never stuck in the dark. This spinning planet continues the cycle and takes us along with it. Balance is natural and necessary in existence. Somewhere within the next 365 days we will all find our mid points, our apexes, and our balancing halves. Right now I get to celebrate one of mine while looking forward to the journey back in the other direction. And, of course, the end to 2015 and the start of 2016. Much love and happiness to all going forward and I'll see you again in the worldly-shared New Year!


Macro frost.