Welcoming the Light Back

You guys, we DID IT! 5:44am EST  this morning was the winter solstice, which means that we’ve all made it through the darkest, shortest day of this impossibly dark and improbably long year. It only gets better from here! (Yes, solstice also heralds the official start of winter but we are a GLOGG-GLASS HALF-FULL kind of crowd so we’re going to focus on the positive.)


My family has been officially pre-gaming the return of light with our annual solstice bonfire for 19 years now and it is by far my favorite holiday. None of the uncomfortable genocidal legacies of Thanksgiving (I knowwwwww I am a buzzkill, blame it on the liberal arts education), none of the panicked 2am Amazon purchases of Christmas – just 6 pallets of wood, a whole mess of crockpots, and everyone I love gleefully setting things on fire.


You see, while solstice is a celebration of the earth’s inevitable tilt back toward the sun, we Deschenes-Desmonds are not ones to sit around waiting passively for the light to return. No, we let it know EXACTLY where to find us.


Right here, by the 20-foot flame


My family has spent YEARS perfecting their methods – Conor’s got his woodchopping stance down (“Pretend like you’re doing the worm standing up, Cait”), Dad knows all the best spots to collect last year’s discarded Christmas trees for maximum incendiary effect, and Mom’s horrified gasps have a nice bellows effect on the flames. And of course, on top of that enormous wall of fire you have the light emanating from the hearts of people who have known and loved each other for anywhere from 6 minutes to 6 decades.


Which brings us, naturally, to Team in Training. The world can seem very dark at times for my teammates and their loved ones. We have to put our faith in the belief that it’s only temporary, that a medicine or a transplant or a chemo regimen will work and our worlds will tilt back into the sun again. But unlike solstice, that’s not a guarantee – so it’s even more important that we don’t just wait. We huddle together in the dark with the people we love and show the light where to find us.


Right here, by the 20-person brunch table

You’ve been showing up the sun for 12 years now, but if you want to throw another Christmas tree on the fire, you know what to do. Thank you, dear hearts, for bringing the light to my life and the lives of so many others. Enjoy that extra ~90 seconds of sun tomorrow!


Love and lighter fluid,



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