I know that December takes its name from the fact that it was the tenth month of the early Roman calendar, but the name always reminds me of descending. This is the time of long nights, when we slip down into the bottom of the year, and begin the climb back up from those cold and murky depths, toward the light of spring. December is not my favorite month. The coming winter may be cold, but at least, then, the days will be growing longer again. Now, in the abbreviated evenings, I grow impatient for the solstice to arrive, and the new year. The best of autumn has passed, and I can only look forward to the first green of spring, and the scent of spurge laurel on the warming air.