Imogene adorned in her best attire, added a small bunch of holly, rinsed in the creek and shiny now. She hoped the deep green leaves and bright red berries contrasted well with her light ash brown hair.
She pulled on her heavy fur shawl. This day was always cold.
She started her walk toward the sacred stones. Each step stirred the frost and her footsteps vibrated in her ears. The smells of fall were all around. She imagined the eyes of the night animals watching her from their hidden places.
Imogene’s father was a sanctified drummer, so he was already with the high priests among the great stones. They prepared themselves with chants and fluid ancient movement.
Neighbors joined her on her walk, and with subdued voices hailed each other. Their excitement spilled out with the greetings.
The great stones soon loomed above them and the crowd quieted, at first, as the beats from the drums and the chants of the high priests came clear through the cold air.
No wind blew, but anticipation stirred the crowd. Each person began to sway with the rhythms. Each dancer unique.
Young and old, they came to greet the sun as it began its ascent to its highest arc. Winter lay ahead, but with this morning, with this ceremony, hope crystallized and the people seized the spirit needed to get through the hard, bitter cold.
Imogene’s heart swelled, as the brilliant, almost blinding, light of the rising sun sliced like a spear, from between the solstice stones.
The people cheered and danced with joy. Another year began, delivered by rekindling of the sun’s celestial journey.
Light, warmth and life renewed.