Darkness now comes ever earlier and pushes dawn well past the edge of day. Even then the sun does not linger, for this is the year’s deepest night, and much of the world lies sleeping. Yet though the forests are cloaked in snow and silence, the great turning of the sky spins onward. Soon the light will be reborn, and one and all are invited to welcome its return at the Watershed Center’s annual Winter Solstice celebration on Sunday, December 21st at the Waterworks property on Plank Road in Bristol.
The gathering is an annual tradition that marks the year’s longest night and the start of the sun’s slow rise toward summer. Featuring a welcoming fire and a surprise or two, it’s a joyful evening of food and music that brings together families of all ages to share some midwinter cheer.
The Watershed Center solstice celebration harkens back to an earlier time in human history when the natural cycles of the Earth formed the calendar’s most important milestones. Yule, the original winter solstice holiday, marked the rebirth of the sun in the sky and the return of the life it brings to the world. Bonfires would be lit, and mistletoe, which represents the seed of the divine, would be hung. Baskets of evergreen boughs symbolizing eternal life were placed in the home to receive gifts from visitors, and the traditional yule log would be lit to represent the resurrected sun.
The Watershed Center’s festivities honor these traditions and this symbolic ancient fire, and provide a wonderful opportunity for everyone to get outside and experience the magic of the winter forest while making memories with friends and neighbors old and new. From pot-luck snacks and drinks to the Bringing of the Light, it remains one of Vermont’s most unique holiday get-togethers held in one of its most beautiful locations.
Join the fun as the Watershed Center summons the sun. The all-weather snow-or-shine celebration begins at 4:00 pm on Sunday, December 21st at the picnic area on the Norton Brook Reservoir at the Waterworks Forest in Bristol (about a 1/2 mile walk from the parking area, which is off Plank Road 1/2 mile east of North Street.) Please carpool if possible and parking along the straight section on Plank Road if the parking lot is full. Feel free to bring food and drink to share and dress warmly. The Watershed Center reminds everyone to keep pets at home and remember to take your flashlight and watch the path—it may be icy!