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Nature at Holiday Time

December 22, 2014 - Executive Director

Notes from the Executive Director, Brooks Paternotte

Today, for the first time in six months, the day actually grew longer rather than shorter albeit almost imperceptibly. So what?

People have paid special attention to this time of year for millennia. Stones were carefully erected in alignment with the rising and setting of the sun on this day; Romans celebrated the winter solstice with wine and sacrifices; and the Judeo-Christian traditions have long focused attention on this time of year as one replete with miracles.

Not only do we notice and celebrate with feasts, gifts, and song, but the natural world joins in the festivities too. The aurora dazzles the northern sky, winter migrations are in full swing, and preparations for the coming months of cold are being completed by local fauna.

Homemade Christmas decoration

Personally, I have made my own preparations in anticipation of the long road to spring. Honey is harvested and stored; hay is stacked in the barn and wood split for the winter in the shed; and the horses’ coats have been allowed to grow long and thick. Our tree is up and the smell of evergreen and woodsmoke fill the house. School is out and my children’s excitement is palpable.

As we all reflect on the past year and prepare for the new one, it is important to pause and take a look around at the beauty and wonder that surrounds us. Nature and our families call to us – just make sure to take the time to respond and enjoy both during this special time of year.