Shedding Light on The Winter Solstice

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This Sunday, December 21st, is the Winter Solstice. Here’s all the science you need to know about it. The summary? “The the sun is the ultimate source of all light and warmth on Earth,” and it’s returning to us, Baltimore. Rejoice! With song, dance, steak on a steak…(wait, that’s Ren Fest) and some some local honey wine. 

The point is, after the 21st, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, the days are getting longer. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere sorry, suckers, your nights’  lengths are increasing, but hey, cheer up, at least you have Rymenoceros.

Also, by Solstice, Christmas is only four days away which means this nonsense of Elf on the Shelf, and jolly Nordic small men and all the other winter holidays are finally over (learn from our mistake: a lit menorah and small dog don’t mix), and we can get on to the adult holiday of New Year’s. I’m looking forward to it.

My son, 9, asked for a crossbow and a leather jacket for Christmas and a sweater with a reindeer on it, and I’d like to rid my imagination of that image. But he also drew me a picture with all the characters in The Hobbit proclaiming, “Peace for all!”  There’s hope in this season of deep midwinter that we’re in.  Be peaceful and love everyone. 

Go outside. Look at the winter constellations (sorry you missed the 2014 Geminid Meteor Shower because of cloud cover).  Teach your kids to use the phrase, “By Orion’s belt!” My kids are like, “Mom? Do I have to say that?” And I’m like, “Are you a Bastos? Or a normal person, timid and afraid? I wish you were at the climate summit in Peru. You’d be so awesome.”

I remind them their father collects Star-Trek ornaments that plug into the tree lights and blink; the household’s biggest geek I. Am. So. Not. “Stop!” my daughter, 7, says, rolling up an eyeroll storm, “You’re a bad Yoda,” which I think is a really cold thing to say to one’s mother.

Once you’ve appreciated the cold, come inside. Doff mittens, interminable scarves, and be thankful. For central air, for the brilliant night-busting evolution of artificial light and for the Internet from which you can learn the sound for eating in German is mamph which is exactly what you’re going to do right now with some cookies a sweet neighbor brought over to help you celebrate the beginning of the end of the holidays.

Your cave-dwelling ancestors could only dream of this.



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