My parents generally do not travel out from their house after dark. On the Iron Range, where they live, in late December, it gets dark rather early. This means it is rare for them to leave their house after 4:30pm.
A few weeks ago, Melissa and I traveled up to Hibbing; my sister was in from North Carolina. I can’t remember the exact reason, but after dinner and after sundown, we all ventured thirty-minutes north to the familial land. Overcast, but not too cold, it was grand to be in the taiga at night. We stomped around a bit, and then headed back to town.
After that bit of post-sunset pioneering, and several days later, my mother got the idea that she wanted a bonfire, at night, on or very near the winter solstice. She dropped the idea of me coming there for a solstice fire via email…many times.
I ended up taking the twenty-first off from work; hound-Henry and I drove up on the twentieth. The fire was not exactly on solstice – we had it after dark, on the twentieth – but it was close-enough for my mother. The morning of the twenty-first, we returned to the woods to survey the remains of the fire and to pickup a memory card from a trail camera.