Light, the warmth of flame and candlelight, darkness, ice, snow, the setting of the sun and the return of the sun are all things we associate with the Winter Solstice in our part of the country. That's why we've been celebrating the Solstice in recent years with candles in improvised ice lanterns.
This year T and M outdid themselves and made these molded ice sculptures to serve as lanterns. T made the flower shape above. I think of it as a sunflower. M made the orange ice lanterns that glowed so beautifully against the snow. We drove to our destination with the lanterns in the trunk so they wouldn't melt.
My role was documentarian and pathfinder, finding a way through the snow and ice toward a location of T and M's choice. I was able to demonstrate to them where not to step on the ice right along the shore, as my left foot broke through thin ice into icy water. Nothing dangerous, just cold and wet.
We moved on to this little tree and T hung the ice candle flower, and the two of them lit the little lanterns and set them on the snow. We watched the candles flicker in the December darkness, with night coming on. They were still there, glowing in the night, as we walked back to the car. We hoped someone would come by along the path, maybe walking their dog, and see the mysterious lanterns in the dark, maybe even walking over and being surprised to find they were made of ice. Eventually, the candles will go out, the lanterns will melt, and it will be as if they had never existed, except as Solstice memories. Happy Solstice!