Friends have a healthy wariness of calendars, and particularly of names or ceremonies assigned to particular days in a calendar.
Human beings by nature ascribe meaning—sometimes sacred meaning—to patterns of events and objects. Such naming is of biological value: it makes possible consciousness, language and collaborative planning.
Quaker wariness of naming arises from the awareness that human beings are finite and fallible. Ascribing meaning to things outside of us has a great potential to distract us from what is Real, especially since we often ascribe not only meaning but also moral value.
Friends deliberately reduce calendars to their proper role as arbitrarily determined time-counting systems. This avoids the risk of letting humanly named events or seasons or calendar cycles have an artificial meaning, one which comes from our concepts and our cultures rather than from Truth.
Nonetheless, the real, physical calendar of the seasons is inscribed in our bodies, as it is in everything on this planet. This means that today’s solstice, the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest in the Southern, does have a sort of universal sacredness.
It reminds us, in our viscera, that we are all of the same world, the same cosmos, passing through the same orbits of life together.
Let us observe this unity in the silence.