Because the perihelion happens in winter, we're blessed with a longer summer in these parts, and we're blessed with a larger sun when we need it most. (Yes, this is illusory, but so is pretty much everything else we pretend matters.)
As the days lengthen, again, I am reminded, again, of our ties to the light, to the ground, to the air and water. To say as much these days gets you labeled as some kind of Luddite or squirrel-kissing tree-hugger.
And maybe that's my gift to the students--standing in front of them, an old soul still more connected (if tenuously) to the world that sustains us than the one that merely entertains us.