John Scholvin

John Scholvin

still can’t fit a half-stack in the trunk

21 Dec 2023

solstice '23

reflection in an airplane window

from a window seat

It turns out that the actual solstice doesn’t occur until 9:27 CST tonight. I thought I’d missed it. Most of us think of this day, December 21st, as the “winter solstice,” and this day is over. It’s been dark for two hours. But in fact there is a singular point in time where the North Pole tilts as far away from the Sun as it will for the next year, and that moment is still a few hours away. That’s the one we’ll mark.

I have both much to say and nothing to say. I’m speaking generally, not just of this celestial occasion which normally means so much to me. Panning back, the last few months have been a struggle, if I’m being completely honest. Now I know this battle and I’m not especially worried about it, and I don’t want you to, either. The good news is that that years of therapy and mindfulness training have paid off, and I’m able to observe this chemical fluctuation at a safe remove. Knowing it’s happening is 95% of it. The other 5% is still a bitch, though. I don’t have a good answer for that part.

The thing that’s been hardest to do under the circumstances is to create. To play, to write, even the wobbly, baby giraffe attempts I’ve made at painting—it all feels like walking in deep mud. But as we approach the traditional season of resolutions, I am making only one: to cut through this fog. There’s value in the creative process, even if it isn’t easy flowing or joyful. Whether any of the output bears sharing is a different question entirely, and I guess I’ll take that up separately on a case-by-case basis as we go.

Enough of the meta, that shit is boring as hell. In the spirit of the holiday letter/annual recap, but hopefully without the cringier parts of it: everyone is doing pretty well here. We’re about as ready for the holidays as we can be, though detailed plans are fluid as we stare into the maw of another covid wave that’s already taken a bite out of some of the extended fam. Zooming out, we’ve got one in college, another one in the early stages of choosing one. Interesting travel plans are coming together for 2024, and I’m planning to run my first marathon in the fall. (Place your bets on whether my tendons will agree to this plan.) The older folks in our orbit are holding their own against entropy’s merciless onslaught. All is merry and bright, really, as long as you don’t spend any time thinking about local, national, or global politics.

Anyway. Long-timers know this is a big day for me. Tomorrow brings us a few seconds more daylight than today—literally, and we hope metaphorically, too. And so on for the days to come. We’ve hit the bottom and should be looking up from here. My holiday wish for you is that you find hope, comfort, and joy in your innermost circles. Be the light you seek. Start small and close to home, and it’s fine if that’s as far as you get. It’s all the difference any of us can make, but in fact, that’s enough. It’s the only way the world has ever changed.

More soon.