We're all orphans this year.
Not in the depressing Twist/Copperfield kind of way, thankfully, but in more ways than we expected. Some are stranded, with family so far that staticky phone calls blur messages of love. Some have parents with reverse empty-nest syndrome that escape to foriegn islands leaving their chicks behind. Some have obligations to friends that demand they witness ceremonies that only happen once (ideally). And some have chosen paths that isolate and yet complete them in the way only a close friend can understand.
So when a good friend decided to hold her very first solo Winter Solstice dinner, we all gathered like bits and bobs from a shop of oddities, bringing with us the overflowing feelings we can't offer to our individual families this year. We broke bread (literally, as grain is key to good fortune), laughed and basked in our post-gorge glow. Terrible weather was easily forgotten, life stresses put on hold, anecdotes cordially drowned out by bursts of cassette tape nostalgia.
We rediscovered that friends can be like family- I even banished my ever-cynical ways as we made jokes about the impending year knowing that if in 2009, we found ourselves abandoned, marooned or deserted, we would find a way to one another again.
As our collective For-Solstice adopted Papa says, "Health, abundance, happiness and all the best for the new cycle."