December 21st, the day the worm turns


PHOTO: Stonehenge sunset

The sun sets behind Stonehenge in southern England.

 

In the later years of her life, December 21st was my mother’s favorite day of the year.  This is the day when the days stopped getting shorter and will now begin to get longer.  My mother liked to walk and walk every day – even at 80 she expected to walk between 4 and 6 miles a day.  But she had to wait until evening when everyone came and took their children home – yes she was still caring for children even in her 80s.  That means in the winter she had to walk in dark, worse she was losing her sight and felt very uncertain walking alone in the dark – she hated the cold and dark as walking companions.

So she eagerly waited every year for the time when she could add a minute of sunlight every day to her life.  From this low point of daylight and sunshine it just a hop, skip and a jump to February when there will be 40 minutes more of sunshine – and from there it only a short way to the switch to daylight savings time, and suddenly you have a couple of hours in the evening to walk. My mother died 6 years ago last week, but I still think more about her on December 21st than on the day she died.  This was always a day of hope for her and it is a day of hope for me.  The worm is turning and I can almost feel that spring sun sitting above me bringing warm, light and long glorious walks.  Can you feel it too?

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