Last night was the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, marking the moment when our planet's tilt appears to place the sun lowest in the sky at noon, giving us the shortest period of day and the longest period of night. It is a dark time - there have been more hours of night than day for three months now. The weather is getting colder, in general, warning us of the winter that is on its way. The bright colors of the leaves are gone - replaced with bare trees.
The good news is that now that winter is here... things are looking brighter. There are many festivals at this time of year, trying to bring light to the darkness, trying to remind people there is still brightness in the world at a time when we can least remember it. The days will slowly crawl out of the darkness into days of more and more light. The storm systems that move through will, after their departure, give us bright sunny days reflecting off the snow on the ground and glimmering through the icicles.
But much of that is still ahead of us. Right now, it is still dark. We cannot see the world around us - and are afraid of what might be lurking for us there. We can but see and feel ourselves - alone. Experience the pains of bumping into things. We try to reassure ourselves with the knowledge of what is ahead... but in the darkest hours we know that the dawn will never come.
In the morning, after the darkness, with luck and perseverance, perhaps there is hope.
(Update: 10am - Changed the picture to one I took this morning.)