Sunday, December 21, 2008

Solstice -- The Return of the Sun

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I took this photo while Robb and I were out on the Bay Trail, yesterday. I must have looked like a maniac, balancing a mandarin orange on the top of a worm-eaten piece of driftwood. Luckily, there weren't a lot of people on the trail, to observe my shenanigans.

Today is the Winter Solstice: the longest night for people in the Northern Hemisphere. From here on, the days will get longer, and spring will eventually overtake winter. With regards to winter, we certainly don't have much to complain about in Northern California. We get fresh organic produce delivered to our door all year 'round. And we're not buried under mounds of snow. Actually, with the return of the rains (California's summers are rainless and all our vegetation goes dormant in the "normal" growing season), we are about to enter our greenest time of year.

So, unlike our ancestors, we don't face the solstice with a mix of joy and dread. We won't have to worry about starving over the winter, as our food supplies dwindle. We won't be slaughtering our livestock, to avoid feeding them over the long winter. We won't build temples to track the movement of the sun in the sky (that's just too much bother, these days).

But we will certainly watch the skies, and think about the cycle of the seasons, and enjoy the thought that sometime, not so far from now, the days will lengthen, once again.

5 comments:

torirot said...

Where I live, winter soltice is certainly a reason to celebrate! Although I love snow and winter, I'm happy to know that the days are getting longer (giving us more hours to enjoy the snow..)

Merry solstice and christmas to you!

Anonymous said...

I love the astronomical spectacle of the solstice--from the Latin roots Sol for sun and stare for stand. Literally, the day the sun stands still. For a two days in Dec and June, the Sun appears to rise and set on the same points on the horizon. In my enthusiasm for all this, I wished my 87 year old mommie a "Happy Winter Solstice." To which she asked and commented, "Is that the one where the guy sees his shadow?"

So, for my Mom, I wish you a very Merry Solstice; and may your winter last another six weeks.....

Frank (Grumpy)

John and Diane said...

Love the photo!
-D

Gothknits said...

I think the lack of sun temples has more to do with zoning permits than anything. A happy solstice to you. I always look forward to more sun,especially in the snowy season.

Anonymous said...

I love the photo that you took the time to compose. The color of the orange against the sky is just beautiful!! Reminds me of the Claude Lorrain sky that you helped me base in... I think of it often.
Happy Holidays
Sheila

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