The 2023 Winter Solstice was Thursday evening, bringing longer days and shorter nights as time goes on. Friday was the first full day of winter as Tucsonans saw rain and a shift in temperatures.

For indigenous communities, there’s another shift that’s present during the winter solstice. Alfonso Chavez has a background in indigenous agriculture and has used his knowledge to help prepare for this time of year.

Winter solstice for indigenous communities, more specifically farming communities, is a time to kind of take a break, re-amend the fields, the soil, the land, and do that work not only for that element, but for ourselves and for the community as well, he said.

It’s a time to heal after surviving the summer months for plants and people. The rain plays a role as well, by nourishing the soil and replenishing the rainwater harvest.

In permaculture design and traditional water harvesting practices, we work with the land to be able to utilize the water source to the surface water run off, said Chavez.

As the beginning of a new cycle, Chavez said what you see has a deeper meaning.

Well see a change within the landscape, more primarily within the plant life. So, even behind me here, youll see the trees kind of yellowing, which is a way these plants take care of themselves.

He related it to self care, in the same way indigenous communities take the time to rest and reflect.