By Ashley Lodato
Despite dark nights, news and events, the past week has been one filled with light.
First, the slow but steady increase in daylight hours with the winter solstice, always eagerly anticipated by those of us in northern latitudes. A large group of Little Star Montessori School alumni and parents occupied all five of the Rendezvous Huts for three days around the solstice, coming together for a solstice bonfire one sunny afternoon.
That evening we all lit candles for Rayma Hayes, putting them in hut windowsills or outside in the glittering snow. Like the many candles Rayma has lit for friends and family during times of joy and grief, our candles were meant to convey love and strength in a time of need. As the candles shone into the starry night, we sent to Rayma some of the same light and love she has brought into our lives over the years.
On Christmas my family embraces the tradition of a winter spiral — a spiraling evergreen-lined path through the snow that leads to three lit candles in the middle. We take turns walking along the dark path in silence, carrying unlit candles and reflecting on our lives. Once we reach the center we light the candle we’re carrying, which we then leave somewhere along the spiral as we walk back out. Once everyone has made a trip through the spiral — and this Christmas there were 20 of us to do so — the spiral is illuminated by the light of the many candles placed amongst the evergreen boughs.
Although the winter spiral is typically a solstice tradition, we do it at Christmas because that’s when we’re all gathered, and we use it as an opportunity to share some of the dark moments of the past year and to look forward to the light we hope will come with the new year. The winter spiral is a celebration of the dawn of a new day and the light we all hope to shine into the world.
As we look forward to New Year’s resolutions this coming weekend, we should take note of some of the goals that children find lofty and remote. 3-1/2-year-old Parker DeSalvo is heading into the new year with aspirations that should make both Lariat and Blue Star coffee roasters very happy. When participating in a “what do you want to be when you grow up?” discussion at preschool recently, Parker was overheard saying “I want to be a coffee drinker.” May we all eventually achieve our dreams.