Embracing Winter’s Solstice


imageI am writing you from the other side of darkness. You, like I, will have wakened to the shortest day and turned over, wanting the light to lengthen. But for darkness, we would not appreciate sunlight with the same enthusiasm.

Each time a prisoner is released, each door that welcomes a homeless person, each time a crying child is held close, darkness fades.

We all at times are prisoners of gloom or pain; lost in darkness, screaming to be held until anguish subsides. Suffering rarely lasts. Like a tendril pushes through dark clay to reach sunlight, the natural flow of life is towards wholeness.

When I awoke this morning I lay with closed eyes, imagining blood circulating, my breath moving in tune with my heart. I smiled in the comfort of my husband’s arms.

I, like you, am a living, breathing paradox, embodying both winter and summer solstices of the heart. We need each to appreciate its opposite.

The next time your heart grows heavy, even in the midst of holiday cheer,


Opposites fit hand in hand;
dark’s not banished contraband,
but ground for seeds to sow.

If screams hurtle from the dark
do not stop their anguished bark,
just doubt the doubt

and faith will sprout.

– ER


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21 Responses to Embracing Winter’s Solstice

  1. Chuck Rubey says:

    Hi Eileen;
    I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.
    One of your “polar bear pals” from Churchill.
    Chuck Rubey
    Medford Oregon

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      Thanks for joining the conversation Chuck. I’ve thought of our polar expedition many times this winter. What a memorable trip it was. Happy New Year! — Eileen

  2. Holly Spence says:

    Eileen. Thank you for this lovely message. Wishing you and your family an abundance of peace and love through the holidays.
    Love Holly

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      Thank you dear Holly. You do so much for so many. May the New Year bring you peace, good health, and joy. Love, Eileen

  3. Hi Eileen, beautiful photos–they speak…

    Winter Solstice, 2014
    Winter solstice cast its spell in a predictable manner.

    Darkness fell at once and stayed and stayed for
    sixteen hours.

    Dogs barked, winds swirled, nature danced, lights
    lifted the blackness with sharp precision.

    And, “Peter Pan” and Tinkerbell swept me away to
    the land of secrets and light.

    We dreamed and dreamed and the sun rose.

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      Lovely Elaine. I take it you wrote that poem? Thanks for sharing it. I too am dreaming of the longer days and enjoying the sun rising earlier each day.

  4. Dick Chasin says:

    “Doubt the doubt.”
    Truth in a nutshell.

  5. martin rosen says:

    please make point of making a trip to Alcatraz next time that you are in San Francisco. The Ai Wei Wei art work on display there until April portrays light and dark, beauty and prison like no other and must see to be believed.What can emerge from the human hear after torture and dispair in a Chinese prison bears witness to hope from ashes…
    love, marty rosen

    • Dear Marty, your description alone will inspire us to go. Thank you for the reminder. And May the light shine long within you and Joan as the days start again to lengthen. Happy New Year from Paul & me.

  6. eileenrockefeller says:

    Thanks Dick. May it be a healthy and peaceful New Year for you and your family. love, Eileen

  7. Hi Eileen, You asked if I wrote the poem I submitted on your “Winter Solstice” blog! Yes, I wrote the poem. My thimble of confidence emanates from a creative writing course I took at Wheaton College, Norton, MA. Did you attend the Breadloaf Program at Middlebury?

  8. Phyll says:

    Beautiful photos and poem. Lovely sentiments to think about especially during the holidays. A tough time for many; with aging parents, farewells to human and furry friends, changes that may bring challenges. . . yet, the seasons come and go. In all their magnificence and grace. For, like animals and nature teach us over-and-over, again, life is for living, enjoying, loving, serving and appreciating. Enjoy the beauty and magic of the season!

  9. Hank Resnik says:


    I’m grateful for your wisdom and the music of your words.

    Hank Resnik

  10. Richard Trenner says:

    Dear Eileen,

    I’m a new subscriber. Just as I opened your “Winter Solstice” post, the sun—absent for nearly all of the last month—appeared nicely lit up our winter garden. The garden doesn’t have much to show for itself at this time of year (some people would say at ANY time of year—I had a got-to-weed-the-weeds dream just this morning!), but it looks so much better in bright sunshine. So if you had anything to do with bringing out the sun in Princeton, New Jersey, thank you for that!

    Lovely photographs and hope-giving thoughts. I’m glad to think that there’s a community of like-minded people out there, connected by your messages. So, on the penultimate day of 2014, here to a good 2015 to you, your family, and friends (including your “virtual” friends).


  11. Hi Richard, and welcome to my armchair blog. Glad to meet a fellow gardener virtually. Blessings on a great new year ahead. Eileen

    • Richard Trenner says:

      Thank you so much. Blessings to you, too, on the year ahead.

      Question: Is there any way to send you a photograph from time to time? Mostly landscapes and architecture in my case. Pictures that you might enjoy but that wouldn’t need to appear in your armchair blog. If it’s not possible, that’s of course fine! Richard

  12. eileenrockefeller says:

    Hi Richard, I don’t think we can take pictures on the blog but you can send them to my email: [email protected]. Thanks for the blessings!

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