On this shortest day of the year we arrived home tonight just at sunset squeezing in a brief amble around the pond. We then lit a small bonfire, swelling our senses with the outdoors and the flickering light and the quiet. There is a thin coat of ice on the pond that spoke to us in a shimmering, bird-like voice reminding us that as dark as the night may seem the days are getting longer and the garden will be green again.
These nights are gifts
our hands unwrapping the darkness
to see what we have.
--Carol Ann Duffy, from "December," Rapture: Poems (Picador, 2005)