I'm trying to keep that phrase close to my lips this week. Today is December 21, the shortest of the year and one that sends most Alaskans into a tizzy of excitement; not for the extreme non-length of the actual hours today, but for the additional eight seconds tomorrow. Sometimes that's how we must think, here.
Normally, Winter Solstice passes as a peaceful, snowy interlude with lantern walks, evening ski and snowshoe adventures, and hot cocoa beside a roaring backyard fire. It is the night before The Night To Come, and yet another way those of us who consciously choose to live in the Far North recognize the balance between nature and creature.
This year was something else, again. A month of warming, blowing, absolutely insane weather has played tricks on our usual celebrations. Trails are icy, roads are treacherous, and sledding hills are, shall we say, insanely dangerous (although that doesn't seem to be stopping some people).
In the wake of not one, not two, but three storms of 90 mph magnitude, we were tired. Tired of the creaking house frames, tired of picking up trash and chasing trash cans, tired of the darkness created from not enough snow to create the sparkling wonderland we have come to associate with Winter Solstice.
But the sun came out today. It warmed the earth, made the soggy snow to look something special, and gave me a special gift while I was out running on a local trail this afternoon, waiting for Bear to finish winter survival day camp.
The sun started to go down around 3:15 this afternoon, fingerlings of whispy clouds reaching toward my for my tired body and brain, offering energy, respite. Suddenly, the very bland colors of an Alaskan winter changed from gray and beige to orange and red and yellow.
We simply cannot have one without the other.