Yes, a day late, but not a dollar short. Let us pretend that it is still Sunday, December 21st.
Winter Solstice. An ending. A beginning. Winter solstice is the longest night of the year, a tipping point that spills us out into longer days and shorter nights until summer solstice tips us back the other way.
I open my eyes to a dark room. Why am I awake? No idea. I check the time – 6 am. Pah. Lay down, roll over, and realize I am alone. Mary is not beside me. Huh. Her pillow is missing, so she likely has not been abducted. She probably just needs some space and is down on our very comfortable couch. Okay.
The next moment, I grin. I launch myself diagonally across the bed, grab her much nicer pillow (yes, she has three) and curl up under the fluffy covers. Ahhh…. sensations of comfort, space. I love sleeping with Mary. And, truth be told, I love sleeping alone almost as much. No elbow in the ribs, no light snoring in my ear. Yes, also no luscious lady to cuddle, but I know she has not gone far. In my newly claimed abundance, I fall asleep quickly.
I wake again as light slowly permeates the world. I hear quiet shuffling – Mary returning with her pillow and trying not to wake me. I roll over, greet her and learn… much to my irritation… that she has not yet had her alone time – she too had been sleeping. As the amazingly considerate girlfriend I am, I agree to stay in the bedroom for an hour while she makes breakfast and has coffee. A mini-exile.
I try to sleep, but I am ready to start my day. I look around the room for something to do while I wait, but nothing presents itself. I open my closet, peer into the dark recesses, and see my old safe. It is a great old safe – heavy, solid, with a quality all-metal locking mechanism. Not waterproof, and probably not fireproof at this point, but an old friend. I slowly dial the combination and open it. Inside is mostly coins: old coins, newer coins, lots of coins.
I collect coins, passively, now, instead of actively. And at this point in my life, I am trying to downsize. I consider my collection. Hmmm… I am not getting rid of any wheat-eared pennies, so there is no point in even looking at those. The large silver dollar coins have been with my family for decades, so those are not going anywhere. Ahhh… do I really need $50 worth of quarters from the mid 1960s to the late 1990s before they switched to state-specific mints? Probably not. And I spend the rest of my hour of consensual confinement narrowing down my collection of quarters. The many culls will gladly fill Burlington’s parking meters, as needed.
The rest of the morning I have alone. Energy is limited, because I spent the day before doing… well… too much. A slight headache, a slight fogginess, but functional. A day to have low expectations. Yet, today, Mary and I are hosting a party, a solstice / housewarming party, so I can’t be slow and low energy and foggy. These two truths do not match up, but time rolls on regardless.
I play my guitar. I do easy stuff, because I know new information will not be processed by my brain right now. I end early when I run up against a new song that I know I cannot successfully absorb.
I look through my pagan books, but nothing particularly inspires me. I already know that Winter Solstice is a celebration of the returning light. In honor of the day, I plan to build a fire at dusk, to make sun decorations for the party, and to hang lights in the doorways.
I start on my origami suns. Following the directions, learning something new, my sun slowly takes shape. But the pattern I have chosen takes 8 sheets of paper, each cut in half and folded separately. Time ticks by as I slowly make my first sun, which ends up being the only sun I make. All told, it takes about an hour and is enough origami for me for the day.
Time and energy are limited. I shrink my plans, as I have often had to do since I hit my head. The lights on the doors are not happening. The fire I will take care of once people arrive.
I make deviled eggs – my sole food contribution to the party. I did most of the preparation yesterday, because I knew energy would not abound today.
Mary returns from her studio, and the pressure increases. I carefully planned my time so I would have enough energy to play my guitar, fold some origami, make the eggs, and have a snack before 2 pm, when the party starts. I had forgotten, and Mary did not mention, the 100 little things that are always done the hour before you have guests over. Cut the cheddar, sweep the floor, get this, make that… all not in my energy budget. I had not made plans to be able to do all of that. Shit. So most of it falls to Mary… simply because neither of us thought of the energy requirement beforehand, and I have already used up what I have to spare.
What about the party? The party at my house… so, um, I need to be there. Two things made it all work out. First, I am much better than I once was. I am more functional even when I am less functional – usually, people do not notice my slowness, my fog or word problems. Second, caffeine. Specifically, my secret friend from roller derby – Excedrin. A half a pill allowed me to keep going until 10 o’clock at night on skates, and it blessedly allowed me to interact and enjoy my guests on winter solstice.
And with a little white pill and the rest of the preparations mostly complete, 2 pm arrived. Therein proceeded 6 1/2 hours of socializing and fun. Thank you to everyone who was able to join us. I appreciated your company and caring.
I was not the most skilled host, but I was an acceptable host. My deeper fatigue meant that I had some difficulty at conversation – my brain was too foggy to think of socially appropriate conversation starters, and my ability to follow conversational flow was diminished. Doing too much with too little meant a headache all night, and retreats to quieter areas at times. Regardless, I really enjoyed having people over to visit. And, as I said, I was a solidly acceptable host. Go me!
The winter solstice fire did not happen, which is sad. I did not have the energy. Just one more small thing that did not happen because of my current limitations. But the world did not end, and my faith has not waivered, so I suppose it all turned out happy in the end. Blessed be.