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Happy Solstice!

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!


  1. SirLawrence

    Staying frosty is going to be hard to avoid this week for a lot of us.

    I also struggle a bit with the short days but mostly it’s the gunmetal skies that get to me. When the sun is behind a sheet of shapeless clouds the lingering dark is even worse. It was worse when I lived up north. Sure, you get paid back some in the summer but man it makes for a long winter. Especially when the clouds turn into a goat stew of drizzle, fog, and that kind of cold, sticky humidity that happens out here in Appalachia. Then we get the hard freeze and the already treacherous roads turn into black ice. Black ice are just dangerous. Best to avoid travel anywhere near black ice. Especially at night.

    Music is key. I have also found good lighting to make a huge difference as well. Not that soviet digital “light” they are putting everywhere but actual warm light. I embrace the low winter light with a lot of warm lamps and dimmers. Even some Christmas type strings here and there like in the shed and barn. Tried one of those sunlight screens too. Didn’t notice much of a change. Not relative to other factors like exercise and social engagement. But I also didn’t put my old blue county’s town council on pikes when they went covidian and so I guess I didn’t get too dark n stormy.

    • Gryphon

      ” Especially when the clouds turn into a goat stew of drizzle, fog, and that kind of cold, sticky humidity that happens out here in Appalachia.”

      You got that Right, SirLawrence! Then all my Horses hide in the Shed, and that’s a Wheelbarrow of… Stuff.. to Shovel out every other Day.

      And Happy New Year to all!

  2. saoirse

    My distant ancestors built their megaliths – Newgrange, Maeshowe, Stonehenge,
    Loughcrew, Callanish, Carnac, Avebury etc. – according to various celestial alignments, one being the winter solstice. Theirs was (and still is with some of us) a true communion with nature, something deeply spiritual but also tangible, unlike the myths and fairytales that surfaced a few millennia afterwards.
    Happy Solstice to you as well!

  3. Anon

    Happy Solstice to you all.
    There’s so much from the ancient cultures that have been lost, destroyed, warped, or just corrupted. I keep meaning to try and learn some more, hard to find the time.
    Even so, still wish everyone has a good Yuletide.

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