In Minnesota, these are the Dark Days. On the Winter Solstice, there are just 8 and 3/4 hours of daylight. Compare that to the Summer Solstice, when we have 15 and 1/2 hours of daylight. That’s almost 7 hours less!

Indigenous cultures used the shorter days to slow down and conserve energy. It was the recharge time of year. People needed to hunt for food, but they spent a lot of the winter sitting around the fire together. They made things with their hands and elders told entertaining and educational stories. European-American culture doesn’t recognize the seasons. We’re expected to barrel through our days regardless. Is it any wonder then, that we suffer more fatigue and depression around the holidays?

I’m sure feeling it. I’m crabby! I have much less generosity, patience, and grace. I’m extra-emotional. I’m irritated by the smallest things. It’s like PMS that never ends. I’ve tried all of my usual interventions: adding more B vitamins, greens, exercise, sleep, meditation, redirecting my attention. Not much helps.

Yesterday I went on a Gratitude Walk and admired the day. The sky was a bright clear blue, the sun brilliant on the snowy landscape. The deciduous trees were leafless and bare, showing off their lovely shapes, the evergreens were adorned in sparkling white gowns. A crowd of colorful Blue Jays cawed and feasted at the feeder. In the distance, water spirits rose out of the lake into the frigid air. I worked up a good sweat on a long walk. I came home and……started grumbling.

I find some solace in the fact that we have added 12 minutes of light since the solstice. We’re on the upswing here. And I’ve decided to just accept that I cannot fix everything. Sometimes it’s just the way it is.