No one can hold back the dawn

An hour from now, at 9:47 a.m. California time, our sun will reach its apparent southernmost point; the subsolar point will touch the Tropic of Capricorn; here in the northern hemisphere, our days will, at last, begin to lengthen.

Or, to put it another way, though this part was more relevant last night:

Now is the longest night of winter

When all the world awaits the sun's return.

—"Winter Solstice Round," Sky Evergreen

(Of course, it's really only half the world. But close enough for poetry work.)

And then there's this:

Light is returning

Even though this is the darkest hour

No one can hold back the dawn

--from Charlie Murphy's "Light Is Returning"

Of course, for those in the southern hemisphere, it's the other way around. I always feel a little bad for rejoicing in an improvement here that I would see as a worsening if I lived elsewhere. Nonetheless, rejoice I do.

No winter-solstice entry from me would be complete, of course, without my favorite lines from Susan Cooper's poem "The Shortest Day":

As promise wakens in the sleeping land:

They carol, feast, give thanks,

And dearly love their friends,

And hope for peace.

It's been a while since I've reached the end of a year and thought "Hey, that was a really good year"; most years since, oh, 2004 or so, I've reached the end of the year with more of a sense of exhaustion, and relief that that year is finally over and can be put behind me. This year, too, though it's had many very bright spots, has not exactly been the best ever. I'll be glad to see the end of it.

But, hey, 2010 is the future, so it's gotta be better, right?

As I said last year: In these dark times, I hope that light is returning to all of you who could use a little more light. May promise indeed waken in the sleeping land.

5 Responses to “No one can hold back the dawn”

  1. SarahP

    Thanks, Jed, as always. We’ll be bringing in the light tonight.

  2. Lauren

    I have to ask, since you quote a poem by Susan Cooper – have you ever read her book Seaward?

    Happy solstice to you. 🙂

    • Jed

      Sarah: You’re welcome!

      Lauren: Oddly, I haven’t read Seaward—I’ve seen it on bookshelves for ages, but never got around to reading it. Perhaps I ought to do so. The Dark Is Rising books were among my favorite childhood books (see also my note about Good King Wenceslas from a couple years ago); I’m not sure why I never read most of her other work.

      And happy solstice to you, too!

  3. Lauren

    I would definitely recommend it – I think it may be my absolute favorite book, but don’t tell anyone.

    Once upon a time you gave me a very, very kind rejection letter for a short story about a selkie (my first personal rejection letter), which leads me to believe you like selkies, and given that you love Susan Cooper too, it seems like a natural fit. 🙂 It’s beautiful, brief, and very dreamlike.

  4. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Seaward is my second favorite of hers, after TDiR series. And it’s a better stand-alone book than any of them. If I’d realized you hadn’t read it, I would have recommended it long ago.


Join the Conversation