Solstice – December 21st


We woke at 6AM, much to the chagrin of my wife who would have liked to get up thirty minutes later, I preheated the oven and fed the cat and dog. I am up at 4:55AM Monday through Friday so I was pretty functional at this hour, I popped some cinnamon rolls into the oven and started coffee brewing. This is about when Jennie realized what time it is – a groan a bit of complaining follow. I smile and nod and know that when she’s more awake she will be more appreciative of being up. Henry (our chocolate lab) is excited and a bit concerned that both of us are up so early, he alternates between the two of us, keeping his eye on us so that he doesn’t miss anything. We planned to exchange gifts after greeting the sun but, due to my tendency towards rising early, we opened presents first. Then, with our thermals on, mugs of coffee (for me) and tea (for her), and the dog, we pile into the car under a sky that is beginning to lighten.

We decided to become pagans about 3(?) years ago. Neither of us have any buy into Christianity. I’ve attended church (Congregationalist) regularly in the past, I’ve read the Bible (on my own), and went to a Catholic school for my Freshman and Sophomore High School years. While the church I was a part of was (and probably still is) very open minded, there was a gay couple that were members, I never really believed what was being preached. Do the lessons make sense? Yes. Are the basic morals ones I agree with? Many are, yes. Paganism is rooted in Nature, this is something that I believe in and can relate to which is important in a belief system.

The streets of Portland are virtually empty; delivery trucks, business men and women, and us are the only ones out. We arrive at the Eastern Prom (where else to catch the first rays of the sun?) and find that there are other pagans there. They are ringing tambourines, and hopping up and down (from cold or as part of the ritual wasn’t clear). We get out with the camera and dog and await the sun to make it’s entrance.

Just as an aside: Henry showed us just how awesome he is during this outing. He was off-lease (not unusual) and spotted another dog on chasing a ball on the hill above us. He made a move to run towards them but it only took a “Heyyyy” to stop him. He still looked and whined a bit but he made no further attempt to leave our side. Later, while playing fetch, a man was walking down the sidewalk and passed pretty close by. He saw him and paid attention to him as he walked by but made no move towards him. This is huge! He has always felt the need to greet others, especially humans, but our little puppy is growing up into a well behaved dog – we’re so proud.

With frozen noses, rapidly cooling coffee, and numb fingers we greet the sun and make our way back to the car, commenting on how much we enjoyed this experience and the behavior of Henry. This is something that we will continue to do in years to come. A truly great day.

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