Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter Solstice – Hope

For the Northern Hemisphere, the moment of winter solstice is when the sun's elevation with respect to the North Pole is at its most negative value since the previous December. (The elevation with respect to the South Pole is at its greatest since the previous December). The hemisphere has its longest night and shortest day around the moment of solstice with the night within the Arctic being 24 hours long.”

Already toward the end of November I personally start looking forward to the winter solstice – when the days will finally no longer get shorter. As luck would have it this year, not only did it fall on a sunny day, but this morning (the day after so to speak) thanks to our warm wind – the Foehn – one would think that winter will never arrive.

Now, we in the Northern Hemisphere know that there will still be dark, gray days; we know that if we are at the appropriate latitude that it will snow; here in Geneva we know that there will be days of our cold wind “La Bise”, but for now, we have hope.

Hope that as surely as the world turns on its axis, the days will lengthen, the nights shorten until we reach the apex six months later of Midsummer’s night. We hope that the coming light will also warm up relationships, will help combat the cold, will lead us to be friendlier.

If there are many celebrations around the theme of light, never mind Christmas, it is probably because since time immemorial mankind needed something to get them through the long dark nights, something to give them hope of better, longer days.

Continuing in the theme of being closer to family and friends, we have already celebrated Christmas, I have accepted many small (and larger) invitations to gather together with others, and as the days grow longer will also get up and get back out on my walking paths. If it isn’t “the mountains are calling and I must go” (John Muir) it is the lake beckoning where I can listen to the wavelets, look at the mountains across the way, observe nature in all its variety.

In the end the Winter Solstice brightens up my life.