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Solstice


Every year has two solstices; one in which the day is the shortest, the other where it is at its longest. In ancient times, they were considered holy days (and still are in some belief structures). They are days that tend to pass largely unnoticed in our culture nowadays.

We all have our own personal solstice – a day that is perfect, one that you want to go on forever. Then there is the eternal night, one which passes in agony. Polar opposites. One which can’t last long enough, the other which can’t be over fast enough. We each live through them, committing them to memory. They shape us. They form us. They become markers in our lives, a kind of means of committing to memory what we want for ourselves and what we don’t. Often they’re both illusory.

The best day of your life. Often when we’re asked what it is, we have a ready-made event – our wedding days, the birth of a child, our first kiss. When we give ourselves an exercise in honesty, sometimes those aren’t the days that spring to the mind first. Our best days are often mundane things, days that may not necessarily seem to be a milestone at first; they are the days we find that perfect happiness, that feeling that it can’t get better than this.

Sure, it’s easy to say that the day I married my one true love is the best day of my life but is that really true? What about all the days that followed that one? If I’m going to be honest, I can’t say that is the best day of my life. You see, my love for Da Queen has grown and deepened over the years. I like to say it gets better every day, but that’s not true either. Real life doesn’t work that way – we have good days and bad days. There are days that I don’t grow, days I don’t evolve. Same for my honey. Some days we just manage to make it through.

But there are other days that things just click for us and it isn’t always big events. Sure, birthdays and anniversaries are important to us and we do our best to make them as memorable for each other as we possibly can. But there are times that bring us closer together, like a Friday evening a week or two ago when we went to a local ice cream parlor in the evening after dinner. We sat on the patio in the gathering twilight with Penelope, our beloved Shih Tzu enjoying an ice cream and the warm weather. It was just a perfect evening. Was it our best day ever? In some ways it was. It wasn’t anything special but on my dying day I’ll remember it with fondness. What more can you ask of a day?

Just like with our best days, often we equate our worst days with events – the break-up of a relationship, the death of a loved one. However in the case of our worst day, those often are our worst days. Just as time adds to our love, it also heal our wounds. The worst day of our pain is usually the first day it occurs. There are some who are able to push that pain aside for short periods of time and allow the brunt of their loss hit them the next day, but by and large most people experience the worst part of their grief on that first day.

That doesn’t mean though that we don’t allow small things to get to us. Just as the little things can make a day, little things can break a day. How many times can you remember just losing it over something insignificant; taking offense to a remark which in all likelihood wasn’t meant to wound. Feeling slighted over something perceived – a thoughtless gesture, an ungracious word. I’m sure you can remember day that you kick yourself for; days of wasted energy on mindless anger and foolishness. Are those days comparable to the solstice bad days? No, but they are days we also remember, try as we might to forget them.

We are all locked into our own orbit around the sun, seeking warmth and sustenance from life and fearing the darkness that must inevitably follow the light. Our lives are a balance of one and the other. Our sunshine gives us happiness but our darkness gives us strength. We need both to survive.

In that way, we must learn to embrace both, the happiness and the pain. Learning from both. It is in our nature to beat ourselves up for the things we do but it is rare that we look closely at what we do and learn from it. We want to wear the hair shirt but we don’t want to face the darkness directly. That’s the kind of thing that does us no good; we have the pain without the lesson that goes with it. That’s why we tend to repeat our mistakes – because we can’t look ourselves in the eyes and confront our pain head-on.

It’s a curious kind of masochism. Women keep seeking the same kind of man over and over again and are puzzled when they get cheated on and/or dumped time and time again. Men keep cheating on the women they love and wonder why they keep getting caught. We’re all the same in that regard – we’re pig-headed mules who are doomed to repeat history because we won’t open our eyes and actually read the history

It’s far easier to dwell on the positive than the negative. There’s nothing wrong with embracing your happiness, remembering it fondly. Sometimes that gets us through the darker nights of our soul and it is true that no matter what happens, they can take away everything you own, even your dignity but they can never take away your memories. That we can do to ourselves but that’s for another blog.

So as the sun sets on one solstice it rises on another. What you make of it is completely up to you. I wish you long days and short nights.

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One Response

  1. Well this is in keeping with my thought of the day today on joy.Great minds think alike eve if not at the same time.

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