Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

Today is officially the first day of winter, though it might look as though we are in the middle of it from the view out the window. It has been snowing all day long, sometimes more seriously than others, and we have quite a bit of accumulation on the ground and the piles at the end of the driveway are impressive. If it keeps up at this rate we're going to run out of places to put it!

It's nice to think that today is the shortest day of the year. We'll be getting a bit more light every day, even if it is only one minute increments. It does add up and by the middle of February the days are noticably longer. Right now the sun goes down around 4:15 pm and it's dark even before that. I can enjoy the long evenings, knowing that they won't be like this forever. It's nice to stay inside, catching up on reading, movies or doing things around the house. Luckily we also have the long days of summer to balance us out, when we have 17 hours of light and can enjoy the time outside. How dull it would be if we didn't have the change in seasons.
I would have liked it if the people who set up our modern calendar had chosen this to be the last day of the year. It seems fitting; the shortest day as the conclusion of one cycle and each day getting successively longer. It seems to be a good starting point; optimistic and having more light each day.
I can only imagine how mysterious the cycles of darkness and light must have seemed before people understood the rotation of the earth around the sun. They lit candles and fires to ward off the darkness and encourage the light to return. In our own way we do the same, though we call it decorating for Christmas, and we understand that the longer days will return on their own, with no coaxing from us.
Happy Winter Solstice to one and all.

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