“What makes it have meaning,” I said to Jon as we sat by the bonfire, “is doing it, year after year.” That’s what makes it a ritual. And showing up when it’s really cold or raining or snowing or even the night after because the Solstice falls on a night we can’t have the fire, doing it one way or another is what matters.
Even if it’s lighting a candle on the kitchen table.
I’m getting good at making those pyres. I fill the middle with cardboard then soak it in gasoline. We still have piles of branches from the maple that fell a year ago. We’ll have enough wood for a few more Solstice and Equinox bonfires.
Jon always gets cold quicker than me. But last night he stayed at the fire longer than usual because Zip showed up. The two cuddled together till the flames were a low glow.
I burned two more of my cactus that had a disease which I wanted to keep from spreading to my other plants. I’ve had them so long I let them symbolize the parts of my past that I want to let go of. I burned a long branch for a friend who had a difficult year. And I threw on the flames a deflated balloon that landed on our pasture. It had words written in Spanish on it. My best translation of them are “See you soon, my skinny one, I will always carry you in my heart. We will still be the most beautiful in October. RIP”
This is the beginning of my new year. Now the days begin to grow longer again.
But what joy to embrace the dark and be warmed by last night’s fire, with the waxing moon and Jupiter high above us and Orion rising on the horizon.