In exactly eight days from today, on December 21st at 3:38 p.m. (here in Vancouver) the sun will be at its farthest point from the northern hemisphere -- the winter solstice. That is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun, and all places on earth above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north will be in darkness. The solstice lasts for only a moment in time, and then the sun starts making its way back to the northern hemisphere. Every culture, from prehistoric times to present day, has had a celebration of the winter solstice. I think celebrations that include colourful lights, and lots of food and merriment are also used to ward off the winter doldrums. A friend of mine gets seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in the winter. The cure? She flies off to the southern hemisphere for a few months.
When I was a little girl, winter was my favourite season. I loved ice skating, sledding, hot chocolate, and of course Christmas. Well, I still love Christmas, and I must admit there is a certain mystical quality about the short days and the long, dark nights.
But, I will be celebrating the return of the sun this solstice. At 3:39 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, that will be me doing the dance of joy at the sun's return. Old Sol cannot come back fast enough for me. I may even start a new celebration -- the celebration of flip/flops and sandals. There is nothing more wonderful than throwing away the socks and going as barefoot as nearly possible in the summer sunshine.
"If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god." ~~ Napoleon Bonaparte
"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face." ~~ Victor Hugo
"The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do." ~~ Galileo