Yule feels more powerful up north. I say that from experience. While you could feel the race of the season towards the longest night of the year in lower latitudes, it is more definitive the further north you travel. Toward yule, we lose around 4 minutes of sunlight a day, but on the flip side, we start gaining it back at the same rate.
The Entire World Takes a Breath
This time of the year feels as though the entire world has slowed down and is taking a long breath. The days are short. The stars are bright in the frosty sky. The quality of light is different too. Animals are working hard to find food; many of them have shown up on my land in the hopes of finding something edible.
This year, I’ve been working hard to get things done before the sun sets in the southwest horizon. Even on the opposite side of the solstice, it feels like the magic of this special time of year is still in effect.
Return of the Light
Even as I say this, on New Year’s Day it feels like the light is finally returning. It’s 12 days after Yule and we’ve gained more than a half hour of light. Still, winter is here and Skadi will be bringing us some of the coldest days we’ve had in awhile. This year, we’ve prepared for the worst of it (we hope) with enough firewood for the winter. Still, it is often a close run thing. But the sun is returning, and every day is growing longer. So, we have the promise of spring during this dark and cold time.
New Year’s Celebrations
I’ve never really been one for New Year’s celebrations. We’ve often avoided “amateur night,” as my husband blithely puts it. The fact that it is simply a man-made date on a calendar has much to do with it. Where you decide to end one year and start the next is largely subjective. Yet, much of the celebrations seem to follow our Yule. New Year’s marks the end of our Yule, and the beginning of our next year in our modern calendar. I write this as I hear fireworks and gunshots from my neighbor’s New Year’s Eve party a quarter mile away. (I’m in a rural area; gunshots are expected.) It seems fitting to say goodbye to the year with the end of our Yule.
I had written how Yule had been primarily a non-event. That much is true. Yet, I used the time to observe nature around me while I was getting the farm chores done. It really does seem like nature does take a breath during this dark time as we turn the corner and head into the light.
Hope you had a good Yule, and I wish you the best for next year. See you on the other side.