Amidst all the glittery, glamorous, star-studded Christmas parties I’m invited to each year, I was very excited to attend my first ever Solstice celebration on Saturday. Part of the reason I was so excited was because the invitation promised comfort food and a “Howlellujah Chorus at 7:00.” I know, right? A Howlellujah Chorus? I’m so there!
I have to back up a little, emphasize the significance, because really, this willingness to howl is a new thing for me. Before this past year, I was mostly quiet in public, not one to start conversations with strangers, or overdo the whole eye contact thing. I didn’t even know about 6-second hugs or the exhilaration of doing something that scares you every day. But this has been that year for me – the year I learned the power of exuberant imperfection. The year I learned to howl .
I liked the flickering light on the face of each person as they watched their candle being lit. I tried to guess what they were wishing for. (I have no idea how close I was, but I’m pretty sure the little boy next to me was jonesing for a rock and roll electric guitar that can cry, sleep, drink, and wet. I lit his candle and wished fervently for his wish to come true.)
When all the candles were lit, Karen said something wonderful like, “let the howling begin,” and it was amazing. I think there were around thirty of us, age 5 to 75, and everyone began to howl. At first there was just one long lovely howl in unison, but then people let loose, and the howling spun wildly out into the cold night air, and I imagined our howls traveling great distances, blazing trails for us each to follow.
I read once that a wolf’s howl can be heard from nine miles away. I imagined ours going further… Wild, howling, fearless wishes leading us wherever we need to go.