Friday, December 19, 2008

the shortest day

Around the homestead this week I have been preparing for the Solstice weekend and Christmas Eve. The last of the cookies have been baked and frosted and all goodies divvied up to take to this house and that. Gifts have been wrapped as well. Today I made my standard cheese spread (recipe below), as well as spinach dip and baked a big round loaf of pumpernickel bread to serve with the spinach dip. These will be my contribution to the Solstice Eve gathering we will attend Saturday, as well as an assortment of cookies and candy.

The week has been busy, despite my overall preparedness. Last minute details require attention even with the best laid plans. :) I'll likely be away from my computer for the most part of the next week to spend time with family and friends. In the meantime I leave you with this recipe...

Easy Cheese Spread

8 oz. cram cheese softened
1 small jar green olives (4-6 ounces) chopped fine
6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp. minced onion
1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp. Hot Sauce such as Frank's or Tobasco. More to taste if preferred.

Mix all together and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with a variety of crackers.

...and some poetic thoughts on this festive occasion and the season of winter.

"So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!"
- Susan Cooper, The Shortest Day


"Before going to bed
After a fall of snow
I look out on the field
Shining there in the moonlight
So calm, untouched and white
Snow silence fills my head
After I leave the window.

Hours later near dawn
When I look down again
The whole landscape has changed
The perfect surface gone
Criss-crossed and written on
where the wild creatures ranged
while the moon rose and shone.

why did my dog not bark?
Why did I hear no sound
There on the snow-locked ground
In the tumultuous dark?

How much can come, how much can go
When the December moon is bright,
What worlds of play we'll never know
Sleeping away the cold white night
After a fall of snow."
- May Sarton, December Moon


"It is the middle of December.
The nights are longer, the weather is colder, winter comes.

Celebration is at hand.
Renewing bonds of friendship.
Visiting with family and friends.
Exchanging gifts with loved ones.
Candles, Dolls, Cookies, Sweets, Holly, Wreaths of Green.

Courts close. Battles stop.
Time off from school and work.
Holiday Break.

Singing, Dancing, Games, Merry-Making.
Food ... Lots of Food and Drink.
Great Feasts and Parties.

To celebrate the Sun, the Land, the Ancient Ones, the great Circle of Nature.
To welcome in the Winter and the New Year.
To bring forth renewal, peace, and joy.

Solstice Present .... Solstice Past.
This is the legacy of Saturnalia,
weeklong Pagan Winter Solstice Festival of Ancient Rome.

Saturnalia, your spirit and these traditions live on
in the world today
in Christmas feasts and New Year's parties,
in our Winter Solstice celebration tonight.

Bless our connection with the ancients.
Bless our connection with each other.
Bless our connection with future generations.

We rejoice.
Io, Saturnalia!
Io, Saturnalia!
Io, Saturnalia!"
- Selena Fox, Saturnalia

1 comment:

  1. Have a wonderful time, and thanks for the verse! The poems were a nice read this chilly, snowy morning.


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