Happy Solstice, everybody. Shortest day of the year for those of us north of the equator. Even those of us in Florida. That can be both bad and good, right? Bad in that if you haven’t done all your Christmas shopping, there’s a good chance you’ll be finishing it up in darkness. Good in that from now until June, the days get longer.
Even these days, when lights stay on all the time pretty much everywhere, the idea of the shortest day has a sort of mystical significance. You think of Stonehenge. This line from the EarthSky web site explains it pretty well: “For all of Earth’s creatures, nothing is so fundamental as the length of daylight.”
So true. Daylight’s like water: we take it for granted until it’s in short supply. Then it becomes pretty important. I remember the morning Mount St. Helens blew up. That was a day without daylight in Yakima, Wash., and the darkness at noon seemed worse than the ash. For all our lights and glowing screens, there’s nothing quite like sunlight itself.
Maybe that’s why the solstice sparks the urge to celebrate. Not those long hours of darkness, but the certainty that they don’t last forever.