December 22nd marks the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. Those if us at higher latitudes watch the sun go down (if we can actually *see* the big yellow fire ball at all) ridiculously early. Here in Seattle, sunset will be very near 4pm. Sunrise is after 7am. We’ll have 8 hours of daylight. And 16 hours of dark. Yule is one of the turning points on the Wheel of the Year. From this point forth, the light increases – unless, of course, you’re down under – then you’re marking the dying light while we in the north celebrate the lengthening days.
It’s the appropriate time for beginning new projects. For though winter officially begins on December 22nd this year, and the coldest of our days lie ahead, the fire is returning. The dance away from light and life pauses for a split second, then the planet spins back toward warmth and growth. You may feel as if an ice dam of some kind has broken up in your own life after the solstice even as the snow falls outside. (Yes, the southern hemisphere has reached midsummer – it isn’t distance to the sun that determines summer or winter, it’s the angle of solar radiation either penetrating atmosphere or bouncing off said atmosphere – check out space.com for all kinds of geeky detail. For those people in the tropics: A. You have my envy. B. Most of this solar dance is unnoticeable – at the equator, planetary tilt shifts the sun a few bare degrees in the sky and varies the length of day versus night very little.)
A very Merry Yule from those of us in crystal clear, startlingly cold Seattle. The actual solstice in the Pacific Standard time zone is 1:30AM December 22nd.
16 hours of dark. 16 hours for the weres, demons, aliens, and vampires to wander the chill night. Do they feel the cold, do you think?