Let Us Now Praise Longer Days

We can probably all agree that 2016 was an exhausting year. But it’s not too late to turn this planet around. Next Wednesday marks the winter solstice — the shortest day and the longest night of the year, at least in the northern hemisphere — and from here on out, it all tips back toward sunshine. Thank goodness. Cultures around the world have different associations with the rebirth and reawakening that comes with the Solstice, but typically there’s some celebrating. That’s why we’ll be at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton for kids activities and a few songs, sung live this year by Claire Dacey, followed by the annual lighting of the bonfire at 6:15 p.m. For those feeling inspired by brighter, better days ahead, the Center for EcoTechnology will have information on reducing your home’s ecological footprint. And all in attendance should bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. It’s a good note to go out on, as we wrap up this crazy year and stride together into an uncertain 2017, hopeful candles burning.

Arcadia Winter Solstice: Wednesday, Dec. 21, 6-9 p.m. Free. Plan for limited parking and a short walk to the fire site. Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, 127 Combs Road, Easthampton. (413) 584-3009, massaudubon.org/arcadia.

 — Hunter Styles, hstyles@valleyadvocate.com