The two Solstices are the only universal holidays I celebrate. There many personal holidays, almost all anniversaries of whatever happened that day: births, weddings, deaths; the arcs of jobs and love affairs; graduations and engagements; all the milestones of life. (The trick is to avoid Marley’s chains and chests.)
When it comes to the world, I see only two true holidays whose meaning every mind on Earth shares; two that everyone can anticipate and appreciate. These holidays are defined by the star that gives us life. They mark our orbit as precisely as the numbers of a clock mark the hours.
In fact there are four such star-marked days; two major, two minor.
The Winter Solstice was at 04:19 GMT on December 22. For me, in Minnesota, it happened at 10:19 PM CST last night. And today, the first official day of winter, it’s sunny and currently 41° (F) out.
At least we got snow for Christmas. We don’t always.
Ding! It just happened. Summer solstice. My bummer day — the return of darkness as the days start getting shorter. Only three months left of having more day than night.
Welcome to the first day of summer! Standby for winter…
Good news, everyone! The star dragon that’s been munching on our local star has finally gotten tired of chasing its food across the sky and will be moving on at last.
(We’re apparently in a migration path, because we seem to get one nearly every year. Every year I can remember, anyway. Good thing they only feed during the day, so the sun as a little time to recover.)
I’m glad it finally left; I was a little worried it might see Parker as a tasty hors d’oeuvre. Or a toothpick. You never can tell with dragons.
And now our star can start to heal and grow back to its lovely warm summer fullness. (Only problem with that is, it attracts hungry star dragons!)
Happy Summer Solstice (today at 10:07 UTC)!
And now the irony of the “Beginning of Summer” coinciding with the days starting to have less and less light. No sooner does summer begin when the system begins insuring its cyclic demise.
One tries not to take that as a statement of the human condition…
Whoo-Hoo! Did you feel that? We just went around Darkness Corner. Not that circles have corners, but — zipping along at 67 thousand miles per hour — we just swung past the point of longest night and shortest day.
For those of us north of the equator anyway.Those of you below it must regret the days starting now to get shorter. My condolences. (If it’s any consolation, the Earth’s speed is 107 thousand kilometers per hour.) Naturally the Way-Back link is to the 2012 Winter Solstice post.
This empyrean reason for the holiday demands extra-special music…
As I write this, the 2012 Winter Solstice (and, perhaps, the long-anticipated End of the World) is about nine hours away. At 11:12 “Zulu” time (UTC) tomorrow (12/21; nice palindromic date), the sun passes a certain key spot in its orbit.
After that, due to the Earth’s axial tilt, the days then start getting longer! (At least for those of us in the northern hemisphere. For those in the southern hemi, tomorrow is the sorrowful day when the light begins to fade.) I’ve always liked the view that those sky dragons that have been munching on our sun have had their fill and have moved off to slumber off their repast for six months.
In any event, the days will start getting longer, and that’s cause for celebration. In commemoration of this auspicious day I offer you this Solstice Greeting…