"This first week in December brings the earliest sunsets of the year, though not the shortest days because sunrise will continue to lag for another month. We are approaching the winter solstice and, in terms of daylight span, the very depth of the year. Now we begin to pay that promissory note we signed last summer for those endless sun-tanned days with early dawns and long, lingering twilight. Nights now are as long as the days were in June.
We pay the debt with coin that has an icy clink, and the coin itself is important as a corrective. These December days are in themselves a challenge to our environment. Man boasts of his power and his control over the world around him. True, he can cut the trees, bulldoze the hills, drive out the animals, discourage the birds, even kill a few billion insects. But he still can't divert the course of a blizzard, temper the winter wind, or put a legal limit on the depth of a snowfall. All he can do is armor himself against them or hide from them, which is something less than domination.
December is going to be itself, no matter what we say or do. Sometimes it has all the trappings of late autumn, and sometimes it is a full-fledged partner of late January. It will bring a full moon this week (in 1968...2015's full December moon falls on December 25th), with moonlight that makes one wonder why we can't leave the moon alone. It will be green with pine and bright with berry, and it probably will be spangled with frost and snow as well as tinsel. And before it ends the days will be lengthening toward spring again."
"Twelve Moons of the Year"