A couple of weeks ago my lady and I went to a winter solstice party. Given the time of year we just sort of assumed it was a Christmas party, not really taking into account the part where we were going to a ‘solstice’ party. When we arrived there were people in every room gluing tissue paper on glass jars, making their lanterns for the solstice ceremony. Okay, I thought to myself, you can make a lantern, no sweat. It ended up a red and white striped pilar with a green fringe, I couldn’t get the Christmas party idea out of my head. Alas! I had a dang santa-esque candle for welcoming the light and saying fair well to the darkness. I won’t make the same mistake next year.
Once everyone had their lanterns styled out we all gathered in the living room. slowly went around the room with a BBQ lighter and set all of them a glow. Our host, Chantal got all of our attention, even the kids settled down for her, to share a few words about The Darkness; these December months. I'll admit I didn't expect all this, but here we were. We went around the circle one by one sharing something we learned during this darkness or something that we always find in the darkness, and then blowing out our candles. The room grew darker as we went around and I even found myself closing my eyes and really listening to everyone. Not the Christmas party I was planning on. After each candle was blown out we shared some resolutions, some things we were going to bring into the light. Giving some attention to something we may have forgotten in the light or holding some lesson about patients we learned during the quiet months and taking it with us into the warm spring and summer.
My feelings were of balance and acceptance of both times. Ups and downs, challenges, and balancing my personal light and dark. While everyone shared their thoughts and feelings I listened. I felt a disconnect between myself and my garden. I knew it was something I neglected when the days grew shorter. Sunchokes still in the ground, no garlic in, weeds taking over and some carrots thought to small to pick before still holding on, growing sweeter in the cold soil. I went to the garden as soon as I could. Not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I needed some fresh air and some time with my hands covered in earth. I wanted to sweep up all the darkness that had gathered on my little bit of land and say goodbye. That time is healing. Thoughtless but intentional. Intrinsic.
After harvesting all of my jerusalem artichokes and carrots, I couldn’t wait to get home. My garden is a ten minute bike ride away and I was excited to cook them for dinner. My all time favourite; food from my own garden.
I made a buttermilk braised sunchoke puree, honey and toasted dill glazed carrots and fried quail eggs from my friends backyard birds. I happened to have a little smoked salmon in the fridge too. The salmon complimented the vegetables so well, a little smoky umami.
The darkness is a necessary balance to the light, this much I’m sure of, I mean, I’ve seen batman. I get it. I’m happy we ended up at that cool lantern solstice ceremony party, it reminded me how much I love being outside and working in the garden. Thanks Chantal, Temperance and anyone else who is inspired and shares it with everyone. I’ll be more prepared for the next one.