21 December – Solstice

Solo 2, painting by Lynne Cameron, http://lynnecameron.com/

Solo 2, painting by Lynne Cameron, http://lynnecameron.com/

It is the solstice.  For those of us in the northern hemisphere, it is the longest night of the year, the shortest day.  After today, the tilt of the earth brings us back into favour with the sun, days will grow longer, there will be more light, more warmth.  And in the southern hemisphere, it is the peak of summer, generous light drenches the day.  A summit has been reached.

How do you recognize when you’ve passed a turning point? How do you mark it?

How does this writing prompt advent calendar work?
This entry was posted in Music and art, Writing, Writing Prompt Advent Calendar 2013. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to 21 December – Solstice

  1. Jill says:

    Most of the turning points in my life are not marked by ritual or external action. I move into the new reality and acknowledge the emotions that accompany the transition. This year, though, I am actively observing the summer and winter solstices. My husband is gamely joining in. On the summer solstice, we spent all daylight hours outdoors. We went outside 10 minutes before sunrise and did not step indoors until 10 minutes after sunset. We watched the sunrise, did yard work, went on a long bike ride to a lake for a picnic and a swim, attended a neighbor’s porch party, cooked dinner in our solar oven, and watched the sunset. This was intended to emphasize for us the length of the day.

    For the winter solstice, tonight we will use no electric lights after sunset, only candlelight. We even plan to unplug or cover all electronics with little lights on them, and tape down the light triggers in the fridge and freezer so they won’t turn on when we open the doors. This means no computer or phone use for 14 hours. We’ll probably glimpse a few neighbors’ lights through the woods, and the occasional airplane overhead – especially as I plan to lie in the hammock for a while, if not sleep out there all night (crazily, the forecast overnight low is about 62F). This is intended to emphasize for us the length of the night.

    These observances are somewhat extreme, so I don’t expect to repeat them in future years. Rather, remembering them will be part how I mark future solstices.

    • Melissa says:

      Oh – I love these, Jill! I would like to try them sometime. I love the thought of spending the summer solstice outside the whole day, doing the same day’s work as the sun. And today, tonight, I will think of you lying the hammock. It’s clear here tonight (thanks to the wind), I hope it’s clear and not too windy for you, too. Perhaps you’ll see some shooting stars. I wonder if you’ll find yourself hearing so much more since you will be seeing much less?

  2. Melissa says:

    Today, on this shortest of days, we went for a bike ride. It was cloudy, verging on rain, and very windy. We went 2 miles out to the radio telescopes, huge satellite dishes that are moved back and forth on the old Cambridge-Oxford railway line. My daughter choose to ride her own bike instead of being on the tag-a-long, so she powered herself against the wind, the rain, and through the puddles. About a halfway there, she asked ‘Is is time to turn around?’ ‘No, not yet.’ We carried on, there were no other runners walkers or cyclists out, she navigated around pot holes and puddles. ‘Is it time to turn around?’ ‘No, not yet.’ We turned along the last stretch of road and the wind was blowing us sideways. I found it hard to keep balance and forward motion myself. ‘Is it time to turn around?’ ‘No, not yet.’ We cycled on until the road ended and there were just farms and fields and satellite dishes in front of us. Now, now it is time to turn around. Going back was even harder, we noticed every shift of the wind, every sudden gust that made our hands and ears sting. We stopped and started, stopped and started until we came to the snaky part of the road, we knew we were close. We counted aloud the 23 trees that line the road. And when we reached the top of the hill, we coasted all the way down to the bottom, both sides of the road lined by bramble bushes bare of leaves and berries, but with enough brush to shelter us from the wind. Today, we knew exactly where the turning point was. As we rode home through the village, the sun came out to salute us before she set.

    • Maria G. says:

      I imagine this bike ride as an Ophelia Redpath illustration. I hope you stuck your legs far out to the sides as you coasted down the big hill. I find myself awake in this the longest night. It feels that way this year…long. But I see a corner turning and some downhill bike riding coming to us soon.

  3. Jill says:

    Nice! I enjoyed reading this description of your solstice bike ride. Interesting how the expectation is that after the turn-around point it will be easier but that ended up not being the case. Our expectations of turning points in general are not always met!

What did you discover? Please share thoughts, links, comments below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s