The odd thing about Christmas in South Florida is that it never actually feels like Christmas in the northern sense of the word. Yes, there are decorations and holiday parties, but it’s kind of hard to dream about a white Christmas in a land where it will always be just that — a dream.
The winter solstice, though, is universal.
It was on that longest night of the year when members of the human tribe made their way to a clearing in the palms, in a state park wedged between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal in Fort Lauderdale, and celebrated the celestial event with a drum circle around a bon fire.
It’s interesting to witness a drum circle. The rhythm sort of just began, and other instruments — on this night there were more drums, some flutes and recorders, maracas, and even a harmonica — fell into place.
Bodies started to move.
All the while, Rebel, the fire master, kept the flames dancing high in the air — and each time he added another log, sparks flew up into the sky like glitter, like stars.
The drums, the fire, the movement — it’s hypnotic and meditative.
It was during one of those mesmerizing moments that I considered the connection that was happening in this collective human spirit.
As my eyes traveled upward, following the sparks, it occurred to me that since the beginning of human time, tribes and civilizations have all honored the longest night in so many ways.
This brief moment in the 21st century was a small link in a long chain of winter solstice celebrations over the millennia. Now more than ever, I think it’s important to embrace the connection we have with one another simply because we’re human.
So, I wish all of you — no matter your religion or way of celebrating the holidays or winter — health, hugs, happiness, and kindness. See you in 2017!