NWAFofJ member June Jefferson recently wrote this article and was reminded of it in our Dec 7 meeting when we read the phrase “the ancient people lived their symbols.” She’s generously shared the article below:
June B. Jefferson
“Solstice” Definition: from two root words which mean sun and standing; the time of year when the sun is farthest south of the equator; the first day of Winter; the shortest day of the year. In 2010, Solstice will be on Tuesday, December 21st.
Most of us have sensed the light of day lessening as we head toward Solstice. Many regions have been in great darkness for a long time. Our area is really fortunate to have at least 9 hours and 48 minutes of daylight plus 1 hour and 31 minutes of twilight this time of year.
In addition this year, there is a phenomenon or an “outward sign of the working of a law of nature.” There will be a total lunar eclipse of the full moon visible in the predawn Tuesday, beginning or entering penumbra around 12:30 am, through total eclipse around 2:00-3:00, and leaving penumbra by 5:00.
Most likely, it will be too cloudy for us to see, as it usually is here for eclipses and meteor showers. Regardless, know this: our shortest day of the year/longest night of the year is actually going to be filled with light, either from the sun or the moon, for most of its whole twenty-four hours, even if it’s behind clouds.
How can this knowledge NOT be hopeful figurative language for us? For instance: In the darkest time there really is light. Also: Whether we can see it or not, there are certainties we can depend upon and rarities which are possible. Or perhaps: The fundamental processes of day and night work together to both shade and reveal in their functions as “outward signs of the working of the law of nature.”
Society has created many sayings which use similar terms to encourage or inspire us. “There’s a silver lining behind every cloud. The darkest moment is just before dawn.”
Which leads me to say, again, I wish for us moments of peace and calm, periods of observation and communication with the natural world, and a knowledge that the day after the longest night begins a minute-by-minute journey to the longest day.