The road ends, but the journey continues...

Longest Night of the Year: 2013 Reflections (part one)

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” –Steve Martin

Winter Solstice: a day with the least amount of sunshine potential; the shortest day and longest night; a time of reversals.

According to the Farmers’ Almanac:  The word solstice comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still.” In the Northern Hemisphere, as summer advances to winter, the points on the horizon where the Sun rises and sets advance southward each day; the high point in the Sun’s daily path across the sky, which occurs at local noon, also moves southward each day. At the winter solstice, the Sun’s path has reached its southernmost position. The next day, the path will advance northward. However, a few days before and after the winter solstice, the change is so slight that the Sun’s path seems to stay the same, or stand still. The Sun is directly overhead at “high-noon” on Winter Solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn.  In the Northern Hemisphere, the solstice days are the days with the fewest hours of sunlight during the whole year.

Winter Solstice, Hilton Head, SC

Winter Solstice, Hilton Head, SC

To me, the Winter Solstice feels more like the ending of the past year with the dawning of the true ‘new year.’  An organic New Year’s Eve, so to speak.  Perhaps this, then, is a good time to reflect on the past year, letting go and easing into the ‘new year’ as each day from this point in time gains length.

2013 Reflections: December 2012 – December 2013

~ 12/5/12   Jazzman Dave Brubeck died at the age of almost 92.  Almost.  One day short of 92.  I remember that really hit me hard as my Jazzman Dad was ‘almost 90.’  Almost.  Was he going to make it to 90?

~ Our first Christmas after weathering three-Christmases-on-the-road-between-homes was super charged with getting to share it with our daughter and new son-in-law.  Gathering together in our little rental home blessed our ‘first Christmas’ with their first Christmas as a married couple.

David, Michelle, me & Flash (above my head) Christmas 2012

David, Michelle, me & Flash (under lights) Christmas 2012

Unpacking a few decos from the boxes that survived three plus years in the storage unit and the move from Colorado to South Carolina that year was like mining truths of traditions past. But even while in the midst of that newly unlocked comfort and sentiment, our first thought was to find a place for Flash.


Flash in our car-home

Flash gave his all for us during our lonely holiday times while on-the-road-between-homes…traveling 24/7 with us dangling from the rear-view mirror, faithfully swinging from side to side and blinking festive blue&red lights inside his white plastic snowman physique.  Flash now graces a place of honor inside our little rental home 24/7, blessing us and reminding us we were not alone during our three-year-journey-between-homes. Deuteronomy 31 vs 8 script

~ Watching Les Miserables, the movie, with my cousin Chris.  Experiencing the quality acting on screen, and being submerged in the surround sound scoring of the classic Victor Hugo novel; bonding over the inequities of life, past and present; the power of God, hope and dreams while living in a world of harsh realities…all contributed to strengthening and deepening our relationship.

Not much has changed about society’s perception and treatment of those less fortunate.  The state of Victor Hugo’s nineteenth century Les Miserables is not too far removed from what is increasingly evolving within the twenty first century.  This fact alone should arouse indignation within those of us in the free world. And a bit of fear as the grueling reality of the hordes of displaced, refugee, jobless, disabled, tossed-aside-in-the-name-of-the-economic-downturn are not limited to places outside these United States.  Les Mis, as a voice speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves, should forever silence that flippant phrase often bandied about in today’s mainstream society: don’t just survive – thrive.

This movie inspired me to soldier on in my efforts to finish Swimming with Swans-vignettes of our three year journey between homes.   It also caused me to wonder if those efforts would even be significant or make a difference.  After all, Victor Hugo I am not. How could my little experiences and observations move others to active awareness?

~ 1/13/13   Receiving the phone call I most wanted to receive a year too late.  I had applied to teach, perform and serve on the board of directors at a prestigious Music School while in Phoenix.  I was quickly placed on the short list, but got lost in the shuffle while the Music School was transitioning leadership.  An acceptance call from the Artistic Director in Phoenix while I was reading on the front porch of our little rental home in South Carolina was a bit surreal.  (Ah, the beauty of cell-phones!)  Enthusing over my excellent resume and her ‘could you come in for a final interview to determine a start date within the next day or two?’ surely amped up my ego, though!

If I had gotten that phone call while we were still in Phoenix, where would we be now?

Winter Solstice Sunset, AZ

Winter Solstice Sunset, AZ


  1. Jim Barbour

    Just a note of hello and best wishes for the coming year. In the continuing landslide of email and internet content we have missed much of your 3 year journey. I never really connected with it until today. I hope life is turning the corner for you . I think what you have to say is very valuable because it is relevant in very specific ways to today’s problems. Les Miserables was a wonderful heart moving portrayal of the struggles to survive a couple hundred years ago and while the same struggle exist today, it is not seen or fully understood in “Arapahoe Ridge”.
    Great to connect on this Solstice season. Love, Jim & Vicki

    • laura bruno lilly

      Jim (and Vicki)-Welcome to the ‘neighborhood!’ 🙂 So good to hear from you, our fav AR neighbors.
      Your comment about my ‘voice’ being ‘valuable and relevant to today’s problems’ was a gift of validation I needed to hear. Thank-you!
      I would posit there are more going through what we did on some level or another who are surviving within the ‘refuge’ of their homes even in AR…that’s the irony of it all.
      Let’s stay connected, please consider subscribing to the website/blog; but if not, I always keep those on my ‘little list’ in the loop via personal e-mail.
      love & peace

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