The long night approaches.
The sun, six hours stolen from peak summer flush, crouches low in the sky, buried alive beneath the skyscrapers. Birds chirp their anxiety from bare, snowdripped branches. An urban brew of filth-informed slush mires streets and sidewalks. We go to our jobs in darkness, return home in darkness, while in workday hours, the eviscerated rays scarcely penetrate the panes of glass sweating cold into dry, overheated rooms.
Winter solstice, Natalis Invicti, day of the new sun's birth, become, under a later Julius, the next the first, birth date of the son of God, harbinger of personal salvation.
Lights array to refute the darkness. Forced festivals hunger for the satisfactions of ancient rituals.
Winter's discontent will linger, but from this day, the darkest rotation is past for another year. Each day a little longer, light begins to insinuate its coming triumph. Unease like ice slides beneath our footing, but we celebrate. We plan. We hope.