We all have markers, which are moments and events in our lives that define the passage of time. We have birthdays, anniversaries, new years, new seasons, new months and new days. Each marks a time of reflection, change, growth and beginning again.
For me, one marker that’s become a tradition is our friends’ annual Winter Solstice party. This wonderful gathering of interesting people includes live music, dancing, food and an enormous bonfire. While I love everything about this event from seeing old friends to meeting new ones to hearing great music and dancing away, my favorite part is the lighting of the fire.
As a group, we each take a candle, light it and trek up the hill into the middle of the woods. Some years we walk through lots of snow. Other years, like this one, there was less snow. Once we get to the clearing, we form a circle around the stone pit. In the middle is a magnificently built teepee-shaped structure of wood standing about eight feet tall. As we wait for everyone to gather, it’s always cold. This soon changes.
Words are shared, the fire is lit and one by one, we throw our candles into the flame. As we do, we let go of negative thoughts from the year about to end and reflect on our dreams for the coming year. The blaze takes hold. The fire builds quickly and transforms the cold night. My shivering is replaced by warmth. The mood is contemplative and magical. As the flames travel brilliantly up into the deep night sky, hope and gratitude fills my being. We are connected to each other. We are part of a tradition. We are markers in the passage of time.
The end of the year gives us a natural pause to reflect and restore our life balance. It’s the time to adjust, reset and move forward. The annual bonfire is one marker that nudges me into this mode. What is one of your markers?