Voices of the Winter Solstice, December 2021

The Burning Hearth special edition.

Photograph by Audra Kerr Brown

Happy December one and all! I’m delighted you have stopped by for this special issue titled Voices of the Winter Solstice. In thinking about what I could bring to my readers this December, one thing came to mind, a sense of contentment. We have collectively shared a (long) disquieting time that looks to be traveling into the new year with us. It is my hope to give you something else to take with you into 2022.

In order to do this, I reached out to many of the writers I have come to know, support, and be supported by over the last twelve months and asked them to contribute an up to 150-word story of joy to The Burning Hearth. Keeping in mind, joy can be as small and quiet as it can be large and exuberant, it is my hope that these stories of varied sentiment arouse thoughts of hope, remembering, innocence, longing, and anticipation in my readers.

I am touched and honored by the generosity of the writers who agreed to contribute their stories of wintertime/holiday memories to this post.

Each time a new story popped up in my inbox, I skipped over all my other emails and opened it. Each and every time, I was stunned. Not only by the stories and the writing, but by the fact that these writers took the time to write these stories for the sole purpose of allowing me to share them with you. Talk about having your giving and receiving all wrapped up in one.

These stories flooded me with memories. One reminded me of the mini pink boombox I had that traveled with me to every beach I found myself on in my twenties. Another brought to mind the orange construction cone that my then 6 year-old daughter wanted for Christmas. We got it for her and, six years later, it is still in her room supporting various hats and her bicycle helmet. This same story showed me how joy can wrap itself around sadness and save a heart.

One story stopped my breath. I held onto every word, gripped, until finally, I exhaled as the writer, in a most unexpected way, revealed a spark of triumph and hope in the end.

Then, I was transported to my childhood, walking up to my church for Christmas Eve service; next to the skating pond with my BFF, watching my high school crush wipe out at our feet. Another story reminded me of how I professed my belief in Santa well passed having said belief (it worked for two years). Another left me contemplating what winter has meant to me over the years.

Many more things stirred in me while reading these stories. I wonder, what memories will these Voices of the Winter Solstice stir in you?

I hope these writers and their stories have fulfilled my desire to leave you with a sense of contentment.

To all my readers, have a safe and happy Winter Solstice and may only good things come your way in 2022.

Speaking of 2022, stop by in January for my interview with Amy Barnes. Until then, build snowhumans and laugh a lot!

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