“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” - Albert Camus
Winter solstice - there is something into which to sink the teeth. It represents the "shortest" day of the year (not to be confused with the actual shortest day, occurring about 620 million years ago, when it was about 21.9 hours. But I digress). Daylight lasting just over nine hours, making possible the phenomenon of working day watch and seeing both sunrise and sunset in a single ten hour shift. But, again....
Cultures all over the world celebrate winter solstice as a more recognizable new year. Each day henceforth adds about one minute of daylight - glorious, blissful blue sky. The warmth of the sun on the face, added cycling time. The slow, inevitable build up to shorts weather, kindle on the back deck. That's the day we celebrate.
Winter solstice is also traditionally a time to let go. Releasing the self-inflicted demons of a tumultuous year has a cathartic effect, a calming that serves to regenerate the soul. 2013 had given (Memories and Miles) and it had taken away (The Last Out). The actual moment - about 1315 hours (quarter after one in the afternoon) - passed shortly before I stood in the cold watching someone do roadsides. I left there to help corral several juvenile shoplifters who had fled from Sears loss prevention associates.
Stumbling while running full speed in a park (at fifty-nine years old) usually results in A) A spectacular tumble, or B) Over-reliance on some structural member. I chose Plan B. I think the pop could be heard back at the station. I was no longer running very fast, nor very comfortably. Yes, officers more athletic than I finally caught up with them.
Discomfort is such an elastic concept. Groaning, whimpering, I manfully adopted several positions on the couch as we watched It's a Wonderful Life. Sure, tell that to the glute muscle screaming in protest. "Have you taken an Aleve?" asked my sympathetic wife. Apparently I was drowning out some of the dialogue.
Bed. Ah... I'll be better in the morning, I heal quickly. Aroused from slumber around two, I trundle off for the bathroom. In the darkness I do not see that the drain trap has separated and there is water on the floor. My usually sturdy right leg fails to keep me upright and I reach for the only prop available. It fails, too, as my flailing kicks out a support. The now monopod tipping sink pins a can of gel shaving cream up against a soap dish and, like crazy string it expends everywhere. And then expands into green foam. Soaked, I return to bed.
The bed collapses.
Let me explain. We have a sort of Tempurpedic-style bed. The memory part of is is wonderful, but the box springs unfold like an accordion. Of course, anything that unfolds can refold, and as it aged the shoddy workmanship became evident. I was able to keep it going with a series of shims and screws but eventually....
Head dramatically lower than feet, I surrender and march off to the spare bedroom. My wife joins me shortly thereafter.
Her: "How come you're wet?"
Me: "Go to sleep."
Her: "Do you want to change?"
Me: "Will you shut up about it already?"
Happy first day of the new year, Winter Solstice style.