The road ends, but the journey continues...

Shortest Day, Longest Night

“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:5

These past few years I’ve been heavy on the ‘longest night’ part of reflecting upon life’s unfolding during the winter solstice. So herein I am pondering more of the ‘shortest day’ side of things.

I like sitting this side of the solstice – winter’s frozen heartbeat on the cusp of a new beginning. Almost but not quite on the other side of darkness.

Bright spots. Glimmers. Slanting, lingering glow-rays.

Those are the things any day can bring – and are especially darkness busting on The Shortest Day.

Offerings I grasp onto, hoping to not miss any scrap of sunshine put out there to encourage me along the way through.

This year’s ‘shortest day’ forced its way into my brain. Insisting I pause, recognize and think on the myriad kaleidoscope bright spots, glimmers and slanting glow-rays of MMXXI.

From getting vaxxed, which enabled something as simple as getting a haircut and grabbing my first coffee at the new shop in town, to meeting up with a quilter-blogger buddy for the first time face-to-face at her home (and fantastic quilting studio) in NC. Plus numerous road trips made to Michigan and Chicago…mostly for fun, family gatherings, but also one that included sharing the grief with family due to the passing of my Aunt Adua.

In many cases, what was interrupted by 2020’s COVID crisis began to re-start this year in different ways…for our son that meant ‘how to get engaged, married and go on a honeymoon’ during a Pandemic. The beginning of the Pandemic caught him and his girlfriend hiking the Patagonia wilderness – a miracle story in and of itself of how they even got back on American soil…They are now honeymooning in Thailand.


In conclusion (!), the following just seems to put ‘the shortest day’ and ‘the longest night’ into a sort of musical representation of what I’m trying to convey in this winter solstice pondering – give it a listen.


  1. Amazing musings Laura, I loved this: “winter’s frozen heartbeat on the cusp of a new beginning. Almost but not quite on the other side of darkness.” Thanks for sharing those wonderful bright spots you had prior to the Solstice!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, Tierney! Now for 2022!!!!

  2. Jennie

    Hi, Laura! The shortest day of the year means every day thereafter gets longer and longer. Yes, spoken by the glass-half-full here. My best to you in 2022. Best is the word, because it’s a whole lot better to look forward. I loved the photos, especially the Beatles. Happy New Year!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yeah, yeah, yeah – I love them Beatles, too!
      (get it?)

      • Jennie

        Oh, I do! ?

  3. Ally Bean

    Nice that you’ve been able to do some *normal* activities again. Isn’t it amazing how much they mean now? Happy Holidays to you. Enjoy!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Too true! HoHoHoHappyHolidays to you, too!

  4. marissthequilter

    Ah. Perspective makes such a difference. I really enjoyed seeing some of the highlights of your year. Wish I could send you some of the bright sunshine from this side of equator. Instead I send wishes for a happy Christmas

    • laura bruno lilly

      I’ll take those wishes, thank you kindly!

  5. cedar51

    Life in New Zealand as a whole during this year, was on an even keel – UNTIL one day Delta virus jumped the fence in our “gov’t managed quarantine facilities (MIQ)” and that began for my region a long 100 days plus of both lockdown and internal border closed to other regions including the small region North of us. If you wanted to travel you needed an exemption, and many were turned around at the checkpoints! Now we are in a new framework affectionately known as traffic lights – no region is in Green and mine is in Red but the internal border is open – not the international border!

    I never really understood why my health wouldn’t improve until about a month ago when a chance remark from a paramedic was here. I’m still trying to find a balance out of it but it appears I’m allergic to most of my medications and I now have an allergy med to counteract them! Seems to be working…but it’s been such a long haul, I will working on “balance me”

    So for the silly season which is coming up real fast – I’ve on an home artistic and health retreat… with the idea that come mid January life is looking much better. That’s if the new variant doesn’t storm out of MIQ!

    Take care Laura and family

    • laura bruno lilly

      I agree – mid January is looking much better!!! In fact, I even like how saying 2022 sounds: you know, twenty-twenty-two. Bodes well for the New Year, don’t you think?
      Thank you for your dear comments, Catherine –

  6. Andy

    Love the photos demonstrating your journey.

    Have to say I’m more of a shortest day than a longest day kinda guy. But I reckon you might have guessed that.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Indeed you are!

  7. Janis @

    Lovely, uplifting post, Laura. I love the Winter Solstice as it points towards longer days and warmer temps. As your pictures illustrate, there is a lot to be grateful for, even in trying times.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Sometimes we just need a little reminder to help us keep what’s dear to us, closer to our ‘consciousness’!
      Happy Holidays to you over there in SDCA-land!

  8. Khaya Ronkainen

    Happy Winter Solstice, Laura! Love your choosing to look at bright spots; sharing your moments of joy and snippets of your beautiful family with us. Congrats on the additional family member, a daughter-in-law. How cool is that! 🙂 <3

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yeah, I promised her I’d be the best ‘m-i-l’ to her ever!

  9. L. Marie

    Love that verse, Laura! Great post! This year feels like the shortest day and the longest night in many ways. Merry Christmas to you and happy new year!
    I’m late sending stuff out so expect something in the mail at some point.

    • laura bruno lilly

      We’re pilgrims – weary pilgrims – but not walking alone through this decade’s pan/en – demic ups&downs.
      Take care and enjoy your holidays – mask and all! hugs

  10. zippyquilts

    Ha! I was just writing my own “catch-up” post about various things from 2021. Is there a picture of you I can use? We forgot the selfie of us!!! Happy 2022!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yeah, funny about forgetting to take a selfie – but then we both admit to not being the best at those sort of things!
      Got your email – will respond more there.
      Happy 2022 – those numbers even sound like a good year!

  11. deborahbrasket

    Lovely! Thank you for sharing that. And congrats to your son and his new wife in Thailand. How fun!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes, it **is** fun! Having weathered this new relationship as a confidante for my son during his early dating days (‘I want to surprise her by doing x,y & z’) to an almost mother-in-law to our first meeting face-to-face at Thanksgiving to mother-in-law ALL during COVID and long distance makes me feel confident we can continue to forge deeper ties no matter what lies ahead!

  12. rl2b2017

    Hi Laura! I always look forward to the Winter solstice the most. Maybe it’s because 39 years ago I lost my Dad on that shortest day of the year. It was the longest night of darkness but the brighter days following were something to look forward to. I love watching the trees lose their leaves and wait patiently to see the first buds poking through in a few short weeks. Spring will be here before we know it . . . but first, Merry Christmas to you and your family. {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne

    • laura bruno lilly

      Sweet reminiscence on a difficult loss – they are always with us, as you have so poignantly pointed out.
      Have a Happy Holiday with those ‘littles’!

  13. piecefulwendy

    Wonderful lyrics. What a great way to review the past year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, Wendy. Here’s to an ever better year ahead!

  14. Laura

    The shortest day…the longest night of the year. Not only does it bring the hope and promise of new beginnings with brighter and longer days, but this day is very, very special to me. It is the day to celebrate my Dad’s life…a baby born on the Winter Solstice and now a man of 91 years young. Sometimes wondrous things happen on short days and long nights. 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      Lovely 3 sentence tribute to your dad – ‘Sometimes wondrous things happen on short days and long nights’ wow.

  15. Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet

    Laura, glad you are able to get out and enjoy the simple pleasures once again. Let’s hope covid finally fizzles out! Congratulations on the marriage of your son. Hope you enjoy many sunny days to come! 🙂

  16. Irene Olson

    Perfect post for one and all. Thank you.

    • laura bruno lilly

      You’re more than welcome, Irene. Thanks for dropping by – all the best for a refreshing 2022.

  17. petespringerauthor

    Plenty of moments of joy in a trying year. Congratulations to your son and daughter-in-law. Our son got engaged over Thanksgiving.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Sounds like there’s some celebrating going on at the Springer Place, too – congrats to your son!

  18. Frank @ Beach Walk Reflections

    Music is one of the ways to express a message …. thanks for taking that path. Happy Winter Solstice, Laura.

    • laura bruno lilly

      It is indeed, Frank!
      Here’s wishing you a special winter solstice walk along the beach.

  19. Jane's Heartsong

    Love the lyrics. Happy solstice!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you Jane for stopping by on this shortest day!

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