Shortest Day; Longest Night

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The Earth’s orbit around the sun has brought us once more to this─the shortest day and the longest night─the Winter Solstice. For all of Earth’s creatures, nothing is so fundamental as the length of daylight. It drives warmth, weather, and life itself on our planet.

Today we know that the solstice is an astronomical occurrence, caused by the Earth’s tilt on its axis, and its motion in orbit around the sun. It is this tilt that causes winter and summer, and at the December solstice the northern hemisphere is leaning most away from the sun, so we experience a late sunrise and an early sunset. The shortest day and longest night.

The Winter Solstice has been celebrated in cultures around the world for thousands of years. It is the start of the solar new year, a celebration of light and the rebirth of the sun. In old Europe, the festival was known as Yule, from the Norse word “jul”, meaning wheel, and the celebration lasted.

To tell you the truth, observing ancient holidays has been instrumental in my growth─both as an individual and as a farmer. Learning to revel in the changing of the seasons, to celebrate the Wheel of the Year─has allowed me a heightened awareness of the natural processes happening all around me. What began as a way to avoid a disgustingly over-commercialized holiday, has led me to a deeper spiritual connection to the Earth.

The Winter Solstice offers us a bright new start, filled with new hope and possibilities. With love and family, steeped in tradition, the Winter Solstice rejoices in the returning of light to the land. It only makes sense that those messages should resonate with a farmer such as I.

My recent victory in obtaining the approval of the FSA on my loan request has given me special cause to celebrate this year. After 8 years working toward this goal, building up my operation year after year, overcoming the set backs and failures to arrive at this point, the joy I feel is exquisite, and I am savoring it completely.

Runamuk’s community of supporters have rejoiced with me. Friends, family, market patrons, colleagues and community members all say “Congratulations, Sam!” From the closest of close friends, to acquaintances I scarcely know, the elation they all feel after following this story for so very long is sweet and wonderful. They are all part of Runamuk, for they have been there through it all, and I am so glad to share it with them. There’s enough joy to go around lol.

winter solstice 2017Last night I burned my very own beeswax candles as the long dark descended. It was symbolic─representing the spark of life that lingers on even in the darkest hours, even in the longest of nights. It lays dormant, waiting, ready to return when the time is right.

We are all like that light. Or at least we can be─if we so choose. There’s a spark in all of us that can illuminate the path we are destined to take. That spark can bring light and love into your life, fill you up and spill over onto the people around you. It’s infectious. I’ve seen first hand how learning to love oneself, and being true to the real you can fill your life with abundance and joy, creating a ripple effect throughout your entire community. And as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. What a gift to give!

I’m so glad you’re here to participate in Runamuk’s story! In a couple of months we’ll close on the purchase of the Swinging Bridge Farm and the #GreatFarmMove #theFinalChapter is penciled on the calendar for the end of April. All that’s happened so far on our journey was only the Prologue in an epic tale; new adventures await on the horizon! Be sure to subscribe by email so that you never miss an update!

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Runamuk Acres!

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