Thus the shortest day for me is certainly on the 21st of December—because my parish lies in the Northern Hemisphere. Parish is the root of that word, parochial, from late Latin parochia, a parish, dated to 600 A.D., thus with Christendom having learned to walk. But even back then—reassuringly in this age of excessive change—this day was also the shortest. Some things remain reliably the same, and clinging to certainties, I rarely fail to note this day, parochially, because in the regions below (another parochial designation) the Equator, today is the Summer Solstice. And that’s something my viscera can’t quite believe. The night tomorrow will be just as short, subjectively, as tonight, but there is the knowledge, anyway, that light will grow until June 21st of 2015—when another period of mourning will begin. Right now we celebrate the Light’s Return.