It is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Here in my neck of the woods that means just over 9 hours of daylight today from sunrise to sunset…
Where we lived in northern Michigan for a number of years it is even shorter, just 8 hours and 42 minutes of daylight today.
Like many people, I struggle mightily this time of year with minimal daylight. It makes me sleepy and kinda depressed but I also know that starting today, the pendulum swings the other way and the days start getting longer. You can see why the solstice had such meaning for ancient people who didn’t have the benefit of limitless, on-demand lights. When it is dark, really dark, it can feel a bit foreboding. People in the cities or suburbs rarely get away from artificial lights so it is rarely truly dark and even in the country most of us have those yellowish outdoor lights. We just had ours upgraded to LED so it is really bright but if you get away from the house a bit it gets pretty dark and you can really see the stars.
We have lost much of that attachment to things like the changing of the seasons, the length of the day and the stars in the sky. Most of our lives are artificial, indoor lights and the incessant glow from screens. Little wonder many people are chronically ill, mentally and physically. One of the smartest things I have done this year was purchasing a cheap mp3 player to listen to music while I work out, while most people use their phones and are endlessly checking them between sets. Those hours when I am working out, free from the siren call of the smartphone, are some of the best times of the week.
The sun will be going down soon and the threat of a winter storm is getting more serious, with 3-6 inches expected coupled with high winds, -30 wind chills and drifting snow. We are looking at low temperatures at or below zero the next three nights so it will be time to hunker down and ride it out. Despite the crazy cold, there is something comforting in knowing that even as winter kicks off we are already starting the march toward spring.
Happy solstice to my people!