A Solstice Toast, 2016.

I shouldn’t be up at this hour on the longest night of the year. I have a tradition of keeping weird vigils on this night, it seems.

2016 was a year of losses, a year of betrayals, a year of death and unspeakable tragedy. And if you think I’m only talking about a few beloved celebrities, I admire your ability to keep your head down and forge ahead doing good work, without much regard for the daily news.

In the long run, your way is probably going to save us more than my fastidious, obsessive, anxious addiction to the narratives of tragedy. We are small people with small ability to help. Maybe we can only fireman’s-carry one person with us. Maybe two if they’re kids or small people. Not fifty million, that’s for sure.

But there comes a point, in any disaster, at which you hoist whomever you can carry, and make for safety as fast as you can. Stopping to count the bodies helps no one. It’s a mathematics best reserved for the years of reflection, far from now, when we’ve come as far as we can with whoever we can bring with us.

2017 will be a year of drawn swords. It will be a red year, a blood year, a year of locked shields, of friends fast made and faster lost. It is my hope, for every one of you, that it’s a year full of great joy and great love. Those things may seem mutually exclusive; they may seem paradoxical together; but I assure you, they are not: 2017 will be a year of drawn swords: great joy and great love, you know in your bones, are the keenest swords we’ve got.

Love one another, laugh often, and let your fear be the shadow that drags not on your step, nor stays your hand with its weight, not even if it clings to you every moment, not even if it follows you a thousand miles in the year to come. Wishing you a blessed Solstice, a happy Yule, and a swift return of the Light.

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