The trees are green again. The natural world outside is 45 degrees and rainy. This is what has become "normal" for us, and I am grateful to be moving back into that quiet stillness. One of the things I liked about moving here was that seasons and holidays seemed to coincide nicely with the cultural calendar. Growing up in the subtropic, for instance, Christmas NEVER involved snow and sleds. Here, that could happen every year, even if we had to drive an hour to make it happen.
But the cultural backdrop to the holidays clashes horribly with the actual season. Many animals hibernate. Even we humans slow down, eat a bit more, grow sleepy with the shortened days that never really wake up to full sunlight here in the Northwest, anyway. The Solstice is supposed to be a time of meditation and preparation, of waiting for the coming light. I enjoy the preparation. I revel in the children's joy, the music (oh the music!) and the lights. Anything that passes for family tradition makes me feel a little more solid, more connected and this year's snowfall made for a storybook White Christmas and we all reveled in it. Still, let's just say I am not one to mourn the passing of the holidays.
I long for the stillness and the quiet that a homeschooling mother will never, so long as she homeschools, experience. But the kids too, do get reflective, and this time of year is incredible for their art and for their reading. They get the time indoors now to actually do the more involved science projects. It's a time where we really get to engage with one another and spend the time just as us, just as a family. That's a renewal I value, and it's worth starting the new year for that.