The Darkest Night

SUBHEAD: Is there a Glimmer of Hope this Winter Solstice?

By Linda Pascatore on 21 December 2009 for Island Breath -

Image above: "Winter Solstice" by donotalos at photobucket. From  

This is the darkest Solstice in my memory. It truly feels like the dark night of the soul for our nation, if not our world. The Winter Solstice, on December 21st, is the shortest day and longest night of the year. It has been celebrated for thousands of years, in many cultures.

The Solstice is the turning point of the year, and symbolizes the change from darkness and death towards light and life. Although I am generally an optimistic person, this has been the most overwhelmingly depressing time that I have experienced. Global warming looms as the ultimate disaster, but the COP 15 has failed to provide any viable agreement towards a solution.

Our great "Hope for Change", Barack Obama, has been horribly disappointing: Guantanamo remains open, we are at war on two fronts, civil rights continue to erode, and Corporate Imperialism rules. A year ago our economy crashed. I thought that Americans would wake up to reality. We had been living in an inflated consumer society that no longer produced anything useful. I thought that the crash, coupled with high oil prices, would cause some real changes in our society, and drive us to a simpler, greener life style. But the non-negotiable American lifestyle was not so easily put aside.

Most people appear to be in some kind of serious denial about global warming, our economic situation, and the state of the world in general. So, where is the Glimmer of Hope?

 I believe that it is within us. Some of us realize the state of our world. Some are beginning to change our lives, both for our good, and that of the planet. They are trying to reduce our mindless consumerism and our dependence on automobiles, and moving towards sustainability. More are beginning to grow their own food - naturally and organically - and to use renewable energy sources. Some are actually making useful things again.

Now, if you are one of the people striving to make these changes, you may often feel crazy and alone. Most people just don't understand, or even want to know, what you are talking about. This attitude of heavy denial is both frustrating and depressing. It is important to find like minded people to connect and work with towards a better future.

The numbers of people who are waking up to the need to build a new sustainable world are growing. There is a worldwide Transition Town movement; renewable energy sources are being developed; and organic gardening is thriving. Here on Kauai there is a groundswell of organic gardening; classes at KCC, budding community gardens, and new farmer's markets opening.

So, after this dark Solstice Night, we can see a faint glimmer of hope; an uprising of Gaia Consciousness.

The realization of our connectedness with the web of life could eventually swell to a movement to save ourselves and our Mother Earth. Wishing you a Hopeful Solstice, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy and Sustainable New Year.

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