Saturday, December 21, 2013

HAPPY SOLSTICE TO ALL

At 11:11 a.m. today, Winter arrived.

More importantly, however, the Winter Solstice brings us to a seasonal corner at which we turn, and which brings us a smidgen of increased daylight, every day, for the next six months.

We celebrated Solstice Day by conducting our annual Christmas run. Last year, there were 20 of us. We ran our 3-mile course in 30 degree weather, amid piles of snow, leftover from a recent storm. Today, there was plenty of snow around, but temperatures hovered in the high 40s, and the sun shone brightly.

This year's Christmas run was decimated by illness and injury, so a mere five of us, all over the age of 50, participated. Conversations centered around our plethora of injuries, nostalgia about our "glory days," coaching, and, of course jabs at those who, for whatever reason, didn't show up for the annual traditional jaunt. After the run, we drank Yuengling beer, brewed one mile down the street, and PowerAde.

Now, it's time to get back to what most other folks are doing today: Christmas shopping, getting rid of some snow, and enjoying the Christmas vacation.

Here are some Winter Solstice facts for your enjoyment, courtesy of MSN.

An effigy in flames on the beach is part of the Burning the Clocks festival, Brighton’s centuries-old winter solstice tradition

When the sun rises over Stonehenge on the winter solstice, Druids, pagans and others who celebrate the winter solstice gather to watch the light align with the stones’ ancient arrangement.

Saint Lucia Day takes place annually around the time of winter solstice. Families in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Bosnia and Croatia mark the day with candles and lingonberry branch crowns.

Northern China may have the most delicious winter solstice tradition: Celebrants observe the date with dumplings to ward off frostbite.

At dawn on the winter solstice, ancient Karnak Temple’s Nactenabo portal aligns directly with the light’s rays. The Karnek complex is among the world’s largest ancient religious sites.

Newgrange is an Irish tomb dating back to 3200 BC; each day at dawn, from December 19 to December 23, light hits a particular spot on the roof and dramatically lights up the tomb’s chamber.

So, wherever you are in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy the Winter Solstice. Better and brighter days are on the way.

                                                             Winter Solstice in Alaska