We made it, friends. After today the light returns, the calendar changes, and I think we can hope a little bit. Light a candle tonight, literally or metaphorically burn something you no longer want to carry, and plant the seeds for a better world.

Here is a poem by The Dark Is Rising author Susan Cooper for the shortest day today (and here’s an NPR interview with her and the illustrator of the book version of the poem).

The Shortest Day
by Susan Cooper

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.

They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.

And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us—listen!

All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.