Four times a year we pay homage to life-sustaining predictability by lauding the new season en masse. Our neighbors host the equinox celebrations and we the solstices. Each event requires a festive gathering replete with food, drink, and some sort of primordial fire, be it a host of candles on the table, or a bonfire out back. For our solstice tributes, we convene around the fire pit.
Last summer’s pinnacle had us grilling branzino on the coals then sitting around the groaning board until late evening, savoring fading rays of the longest day. The more recent winter solstice found us huddled in early dark of winter, closer to the flames than six months prior, not for food this time but for warmth. A couple of raucous toasts for good measure, a genial cheer to the coming of the light and then back inside for blessed warmth. Yesterday, we ushered in the first two minutes of spring with a virtual face time toast, mindful of social distances, but heartily refusing to let our quarterly tradition lapse for these vexing circumstances.
As the fates of equilibrium would have it, two of us prefer winter, and the other two – summer. No matter what the season, someone is always delighted to be upon a chosen one, or at least headed in that direction. Two of us celebrate mums, waning light, and falling mercury, and the other two exalt courageous crocuses, dinnertime daylight, and peeling parkas in relief of too many layers.
It is a gift of uncommon grace to share life with those who help you notice hidden beauty in unpleasantries such as an annoying outside temperature or too much precipitation or the wrong kind. The accidental joy in discovering a silver lining there makes drudgery bearable, and even downright fun.
Yesterday we toasted to coming around again – marking time with seasons of delight and seasons of – well, not so much. To that and to the rhythm of life.
For all of it, I am grateful.