Solstice! Yay!

 

Saturday was the Shortest Day of the Year. I mean, if you live in the northern hemisphere; and it’s really, really short if you’re north of 40 degrees latitude. I completely understand the motives of the ancient Druids and my Swedish ancestors who celebrated this day. Someday, I’d love to go to Stonehenge for this day of limited solar exposure.

I don’t care for the diminished daylight of November and December. I love sunlight. I live in the Mojave Desert where it gets scorching hot in the summer, but I still love the sunlight. It feels so depressing to me to have the daylight disappear at 4:30 p.m. I’ve lived further north than this, too, and had the light leave even earlier. The Nevada state song has a line that says, “…Out where the sun always shines!” and I expect that promise to be kept.

Information about the ancient people of the northern hemisphere tells how various customs were used to commemorate this day. They focused on imploring their gods to not leave their people in the darkness, but to bring back the light. I’ve also read how the early Christians used the symbolism and traditions that were already established and reworked them into celebrations of Christ’s birth. That was a very smart thing to do.

I, of course, know the science of the Winter Solstice. I loved teaching about both aspects to my 4th graders all those years. They are the right age to start noticing that the sunlight is diminishing, and they really enjoy learning science concepts. They also loved learning about how so many of our traditions of winter holidays are recycled from thousands of years ago!

Sunday, there will be a minute or two of extra light. The increased daylight won’t be obvious until late January. But I anticipate that day when I’ll notice that the long shadows on the big rocky ridge a few blocks east of our house have started to shrink. I’ll relax and my solar-powered soul will smile.

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  1. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    And I had to choose to live in Montana, 45 miles from Glacier Park!

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Cow Girl: and it’s really, really short if you’re north of 40 degrees latitude.

    42°34′49″N to be precise.

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Cow Girl: This day is the Shortest Day of the Year.

    Pssst. It’s tomorrow.

    • #3
  4. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Living north of the 45th parallel in Portland, Oregon it started getting dark today at about 3:00 PM. It’s all uphill again starting tomorrow. In the summer it doesn’t start getting dark until about 10:00 PM. Between rain and clouds it’s like living in a cave, and after reading the Lewis and Clark Diaries it’s a wonder that anyone lives here, to include why I’m here.

    Average sunlight hours in Portland, Oregon range between 1:48 per day in January & December & 10:27 for each day in July
    The longest day of the year is 15:30 long and the shortest day is 8:29 long.
    The longest day is 7:00 longer than the shortest day.
    There is an average of 1953 hours of sunlight per year (of a possible 4383) with an average of 5:20 of sunlight per day.
    It is sunny 44.6% of daylight hours. The remaining 55.4% of daylight hours are likely cloudy or with shade, haze or low sun intensity.
    At midday the sun is on average 44.8° above the horizon at Portland, Oregon.

    • #4
  5. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Stonehenge. What a bear to set to daylight savings time every year.

    • #5
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Stonehenge. What a bear to set to daylight savings time every year.

    True.

    • #6
  7. Al French, poor excuse for a p… Moderator
    Al French, poor excuse for a p…
    @AlFrench

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Living north of the 45th parallel in Portland, Oregon it started getting dark today at about 3:00 PM. It’s all uphill again starting tomorrow. In the summer it doesn’t start getting dark until about 10:00 PM. Between rain and clouds it’s like living in a cave, and after reading the Lewis and Clark Diaries it’s a wonder that anyone lives here, to include why I’m here.

    Average sunlight hours in Portland, Oregon range between 1:48 per day in January & December & 10:27 for each day in July
    The longest day of the year is 15:30 long and the shortest day is 8:29 long.
    The longest day is 7:00 longer than the shortest day.
    There is an average of 1953 hours of sunlight per year (of a possible 4383) with an average of 5:20 of sunlight per day.
    It is sunny 44.6% of daylight hours. The remaining 55.4% of daylight hours are likely cloudy or with shade, haze or low sun intensity.
    At midday the sun is on average 44.8° above the horizon at Portland, Oregon.

    When Lewis and Clark wintered at Fort Clatsop it rained every day of their stay.

    • #7
  8. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    I’m at Mile Marker 105-ish on the Overseas Highway.  Mile Marker 0 is in Key West, the southernmost point of these United States.

    I can’t wait for the days to begin lengthening out again; it’s cold.

    Today, the temp got down to 72.  

    Egregious, man.

    • #8
  9. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Cow Girl: This day is the Shortest Day of the Year.

    Pssst. It’s tomorrow.

    It moves around between 21 and 22. According to everything I looked at, today in Pacific Time (where I live) it occurred at 8:19 P.M.

    And not a moment too soon, either. I’m ready for some SUNSHINE!!

    • #9
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    I’m at Mile Marker 105-ish on the Overseas Highway. Mile Marker 0 is in Key West, the southernmost point of these United States.

    I can’t wait for the days to begin lengthening out again; it’s cold.

    Today, the temp got down to 72.

    Egregious, man.

    Yeah, yeah. Rub it in.

    • #10
  11. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    @bossmongo, I keep Key West and Naples bookmarked in my weather app. When it is cold and nasty here in NC, I show them to my husband. I’m with you @cowgirl. I can see how seasonal affective disorder is a thing. 

    • #11
  12. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    It’s 31 Freedom, but it’s supposed to get to 49 today here. When I looked yesterday, it was supposed to be a high of 44 F today, so things are looking up.

    • #12
  13. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Coolidge
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo…
    @GumbyMark

    If you can’t make it to Stonehenge, try Carhenge.  It’s much closer!  Outside Alliance, Nebraska.  We’ve visited it three times to observe the strange rituals.

    Image result for carhenge

    • #13
  14. ShaunaHunt Coolidge
    ShaunaHunt
    @ShaunaHunt

    I have serious problems with diminishing light. I love celebrating the solstice and equinoxes. I had a great astronomy teacher in college who helped me appreciate these days more. I love your post!

    • #14
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