Monday, December 13, 2010

Dark Night Of The Solstice...

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.

*sigh*

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

12 comments:

jojo said...

I have struggled with SAD also, but unfortunatly I can't fly south for the winter. *sigh*

nomore said...

Oh Solemio...! nice post and very sensitive some...!!

HAPPY IN NEVADA said...

Ooooooooooooo - I think I like this the best:

"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face." ~~ Victor Hugo

Cheers to you Jo!

Bagman and Butler said...

Ah, the solstice! We mark the day by flipping the mattress.

Pauline said...

Oh yes - please create a Flip-flop/Sandal holiday!

June said...

If celebrations that include colourful lights, and lots of food and merriment originated in efforts at warding off the winter blahs, they need to occur around February 1.
If the only available time is the solstice, I'll miss it. If it's dark, I'm sleeping.

@ly said...

I welcome Spring....I, like the birds, would love to fly south for the Winter!

DJan said...

This year the solstice also includes an eclipse of the full moon! I hope we will be able to see it up here. I love winter too, and since I don't have SAD, I don't need extra sunshine. We have had enough blue skies peeking through the rain clouds to make me smile every day!

Paula Slade said...

Jo, your comment about marking the day with "flip/flops," and Bagman and Butler's comment about "flipping the mattress" sure got me out of my winter doldrums! ;-D

Alicia said...

My mom is afflicted with SAD as well. Here in Kern Co. in California the have days on end that are dreary and grey and foggy and wet. My mom gets so depressed. Myself, I love winter and this type of weather, probably more than the sun...lol. I guess Mother Nature can't please everyone. Enjoy your sun Jo!

Linda Myers said...

Someday I'll celebrate the soltice in a way other than rejoicing the days are getting longer again.

Just me and my dawn simulator and my light box. We're happy together.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I love the quote from Galileo! And just the word "solstice" seems magical to me. We've had a lot of dark days in San Francisco this winter, so I will also rejoice when the sun decides to return. "Come back. All is forgiven."