As I write this–months before anyone will ever read it–the world is in tumult. I listen to the radio on, all the news and all the opinions and none of it good, and the wind outside, riffling leaves off the trees like yellow birds taking flight, and the newly bare branches scrape my kitchen window.
It is a sympony of beautiful, woeful noise or a cacophony of the same sort. Two sides of the same coin.
December is a month great with holidays that we love/that make us crazy, but I’m thinking about a day we usually skip over, nestled quietly before Christmas: the Winter Solstice. December 21.
The Winter Solstice is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight in the whole year, but it’s not the coldest. Did you know that though Earth is cooling, it still retains some heat from the summer and fall, and it will be months before the weather reaches its coldest? And did you know that beginning after the Winter Solstice, every day grows brighter and longer, even as it grows colder? I like this juxtaposition. I like the idea of growing light and growing cold simultaneously. It feels right to me; it feels like a gift–a wonder-filled mercy.
Writing this, I am also back from a desert trip that I took with friends. I took it to lie on hot boulders like a lizard soaking up warmth, and to laugh big belly laughs that swallowed up the desert air. I took it to walk ancient trails that vacillated between the cold of shadow to the blazing heat of unrestrained sun. A sun that I peeled off my jacket for, that I turned my face towards and tried to absorb.
Because sometimes it feels like you just can’t get enough light.
I learned the devastating truth of this from a feature this month called, Lighting the Way. Marion Norton, a strong and loving woman in our community, discusses this concept, and how one of the darkest of times in her own life inspired her to become the light itself, and to pass it on.
-A hopeful story about a darling close to our Draper Lifestyle hearts—the publisher’s daughter and her battle with cancer
-A three step plan to make sure the very holidays themselves—bursting with joy and cheer—stay light, fun and happy
-An essay exploring how one writer finds “lightness” from burdens at her childhood home
So our goal this issue is inspired by Marion and her son, Spencer. Our goal is to bring you light and a bit of hope if you need some in the midst of darkness both literal and figurative. Consider this our holiday gift to you: 36 pages of happy, hopeful holidays.
(And a little help with your shopping too. What what?!)
Happy Holidays, dear friends!
Brooke Benton, Editor