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Gumboot Nation: Pedestrians, wear lights in the dusk and dark

Also, we’re coming up on the long-celebrated solstice
Low profile image of open roadway through a forest

Greetings Creekers, 

I woke up this morning thinking about flashlights. What? Who does that? I could have been thinking about the state of the world or any number of important things, but no, it was flashlights that occupied my little brain. I do know why. It’s because I had a very close call with a pedestrian that left me quite shaken. It could have been a life changing event for both of us that might have been avoided if the pedestrian was carrying a flashlight. It so happened that it was a kid. 

In my family, I am known as the “flashlight queen” and they all roll their eyes as they pull some type of safety light out of their stockings. This year, it’s arm bands with flashing green lights. (No spoiler alert, they don’t seem to read my column.)  

Joking aside, this is a serious issue. Please keep in mind that as you are walking along the road at night, drivers cannot see you, especially at dusk. It’s a dangerous time because pedestrians can still see and a light seems unnecessary, but it could save your life.  

Speaking of light, we are experiencing less and less of it as we approach Winter Solstice. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, but cultures around the world mark the darkest day of the year with feasts and ritual involving fire and light and there is evidence that these go as far back as the early Stone Age. The Romans celebrated Saturnalia, a week long holiday of feasting and a reversal of social order that involved the (temporary!) freedom of slaves. The Norsemen celebrated “Yule” by placing massive logs on their fires and feasting until the log burned out, sometimes as long as 12 days. Those Incas drank chicha and sacrificed llamas. 

These are ancient traditions but modern-day ones continue. In Scandanvia, they honour St Lucia when girls wear red sashes and balance wreathes of candles on their heads. In China, families celebrate “Dong Zhi” and gather to eat glutinous rice balls and dumplings. In Japan “Toji” is the traditional practice of starting the year with health and good luck. Huge bonfires are lit on Mt. Fuji on Dec. 22. People take baths scented with yuzu (citrus fruit) and eat kabocha squash. At “Shab-e Yalda,” Iranians all over the world celebrate the Sun God Mithra by gathering to burn fires and perform charitable acts. They feast on pomegranates, nuts and other festive foods and read poetry. The Zuni of New Mexico celebrate the rebirth of the sun and dance with 12 clowns dressed as 12-foot-tall birds. Local Indigenous celebrations involve thanking the sun for warmth and light and celebrating its return with prayer, singing, dancing and the use of sacred plants such as tobacco and sage.  

I seem to be on a roll and I could go on and on, perhaps making up for a socials studies project I never did. Anyway, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to celebrate solstice in Roberts Creek with a fire and and a slow walk around a large labyrinth during which I time travel back to ancient pagan rituals, and I love it. 

Moving on: 

Tonight at the Hall, it’s Daniel Wesley and his band doing an all-ages gig from 7 to 9 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.) You can take the family for an evening of singing and dancing and proceeds go to the food bank. Tickets at the door at this point.  

If you are in a Celtic frame of mind, head to the Legion where the Irish pub night people will be celebrating a Celtic Christmas kitchen party. Food will be served from 7 to 9 p.m. and children are welcome during that time. Music will start at 7 p.m. and go until everyone’s exhausted. Free to $10. Bring an instrument!  

Tomorrow at the Hall, it’s Metta Grove, which involves a free Artisan Market from 1 to 5 p.m. and then from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., there will be an evening visionary art concert that involves guided meditation and psychedelic experience. Tickets are available at  

Don’t forget about the Hall Christmas Dinner. It’s a great way to celebrate with a crowd and everyone is welcome but lots of help is need to put it together. Go to 

The next big Hall event is New Year’s. Tickets available at for $25.   

Just before I finish, I would like to make another local gift idea suggestion. The library has near new books for sale. These are books that have been donated and sell for $2 or less. The price enables almost anyone to buy a gift, so go in during library hours and check it out.  

Have a great week! 

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