I love winter solstice—
for the beauty of snow covered trees at night,
for the succession of holiday celebrations,
and especially for the unfailing promise of spring.
Although now the low slant of the sun’s rays brings little light or warmth,
I am thankful that the earth will travel around our sun
and once more place the sun high above;
that its rays will again bring light and warmth—and the green of spring;
and that I can expect the cycle will continue a billion years or more.
But another light and another warmth are far from sure.
The people of the earth pass through times
when those who speak truth are warned into silence
and knowledge falls into darkness;
times when those in need
are pushed aside by privilege,
and those who care hold back in fear.
No arcing of the earth to a spring equinox
will restore the lost warmth of compassion.
No circling to the summer solstice
will bring the bright light of knowledge.
Only we—the terrible, wonderful, errant beings of earth—
can restore care for the earth and for the other.
Only we—the creatures who observe and think—
can shine light in the dark places and speak what is true.
A million past winter solstices
cannot promise a single spring of the human spirit.
We must bring that spring ourselves.