Winter Solstice at Chaco Canyon

Chaco Canyon on winter solstice
Chaco Canyon on winter solstice

Chaco Canyon on winter solstice

This week I had the urge to go to Chaco Canyon in northern New Mexico. I packed up to head down there and realized the beautiful coincidence – I would be there on winter solstice.

I LOVE winter solstice not because its the shortest day of the year, but because it represents the great miracle of our planet tilting towards the sun. I am so thankful for this shift that I will spend the entire day celebrating it. Celebrating the days getting longer, the coming of the green things poking up in my yard, the entrance of light, and all that it represents – the turning outward, from our hibernation.



Hibernation is a state of inactivity and metabolic depression in endotherms – an animal capable of generating heat from within.

We are warm blooded animals. You and I may not literally hibernate, but we are capable of generating warmth from within during these deep, darks night. We make warm soup and comfort food. We generate energy and happiness through our internal pursuits.

We can choose to spend these darkest days by noticing all the beauty that is here, instead of what is not here.  And we can choose to commemorate this beauty with our own – a dish that we cook, a song that we hum, a snow angel, a letter we write.

Creativity is seeing beauty around us, and translating it into something tangible. It is the greatest gift – a form of honoring what we have been given. When the days feel short and agitating, or the holidays feel all about buying crap, fight back with this.

Yesterday I went to Chaco Canyon to spend the day in appreciation of solstice. I walked its canyon rims for hours in the daylight, with my dog, peering over ancient, crumbling ruins, watching herds of elk, and listening to ravens. The sun was lazy and trolled across the sky during my entire hike without once looking up. It had no rays to spare, and lit what it could. But it was a brilliant light.

One of my favorite sounds is a raven in the desert

One of my favorite sounds – a raven in the desert

What are your favorite internal pursuits this time of year? Scroll down and leave a comment, we’d love to know!


  1. pippin says:

    I love this post, and I love that you posted photos of Chaco Canyon. How cool you spent the solstice exploring such a beautiful place. The winter solstice presents a time for me to go within. I give myself permission to hibernate, which I simply love. I spend nights reading by the fire, drawing and drinking herbal tea. You can read more about my reflections on the solstice at my blog:
    Thanks for sharing! Happy New Year!

  2. Chaco, one of the great places on the planet

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