12.21.13 In the first hour of the day with the longest night, Don’s father died. We got the phone call after sunrise, shortly before all our electricity went off, and spent the day huddled around the fire, watching it snow, and made the tearful calls before our cellphone batteries went dead. When the power came back on, we decided to carry on with our tradition of walking out on the frozen lake to witness the day’s dim fading light. It seemed colder this year. More still. We thought we heard the plaintive cry of the tundra swans.
The house was warm when we returned home. It was good to be entwined together on flannel sheets a top the featherbed–which always makes me feel like the princess and the pea–and watch the lone flickering candle we keep going all night long each solstice. We let it burn, as they have through the ages, to give us hope and comfort through this longest night–that the cycle of life will, indeed, be just as it’s always been. That Spring will come again. That death is as much a part of life as birth. Last night, I also wondered if maybe the light from our candle helped a gentle soul leave this lovely earth today.