At 8:28 this morning, Pacific time, winter came. Twice. The calendar winter, of course, but also the weather winter. Soooo cold! 8:28 am PT also marked this year’s winter solstice, ending the creeping darkness. “Solstice” comes from two Latin words, sol meaning “sun” and sistere meaning “stationary” because on this day, in the northern hemisphere, the sun seems to stand still, as if garnering it’s strength to fight back the darkness.
Technically, the winter solstice marks the moment when there is a 23.5-degree tilt in Earth’s axis and the North Pole is at its furthest point from the sun — from here on, the days will get longer, gaining us an additional 6 and 1/2 hours of sunlight per day by June 21st when the days begin to get shorter again. (This is reversed in the southern hemisphere, so today those down under will be celebrating their summer solstice.)
Though neo-pagans have claimed the solstice for their own, this is one of those natural holidays (holy days) that we all should be celebrating. The triumph of light over darkness. A day of stillness, of hope, of giving thanks for the promise that even in our darkest hour, light will return.
My celebration was simple. I lit a vase of lights and went outside and toasted the pale winter sun with champagne. Well, it was really sparking apple/peach cider, but the sun didn’t seem to care. It slid beneath the desert knolls without even a wink or a nod to acknowledge my obeisance. But it will return with greater strength tomorrow. And so will I.
Wishing you a bright and hopeful end of the creeping darkness.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.
December 24, 2017 at 3:26 pm
A kindred spirit “D
I follow the sun, in fact from the winter solstice of 21st June 2016 to the winter solstice 21st June 2017, up here , I do really believe that we are on top, and the Northern hemisphere is down under I did a spreadsheet and kept a record of how many seconds we lost and gained each day from stop & go to stop & go. When my ASUS crashed a few weeks back all my work crashed with it, 😥 My favourite times of the year, the solstices. 🙂
Now why do I think the South is on top?
Well Australia is slowly sliding down to wards the Equator and the Northern Hemisphere, and as the force of gravity makes things slide down not up I know we are on top cos we are sliding down, See? 😈 😀
December 24, 2017 at 4:52 pm
I like that! Being on top was so exhausting!
December 24, 2017 at 5:05 pm
Logical when you think about it 😈