Thursday, December 22, 2011

Of Seasonal and Political Solstices

Today is the Winter Solstice - the shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the official start of winter. If Seasonal Affective Disorder is your thing, today is your day. The phenomenon of the Winter (and Summer) Solstices is governed by the tilt of the earth as it rotates on its axis ... at the Winter Solstice, the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun, resulting in shorter days and longer nights ...

Religions and cultures around the world have many different rituals and ceremonies that revolve around the Winter Solstice. Many of them deal with concepts of rebirth, or with the emergence from darkness to light, as the days will now begin - however slowly - to get longer, if not warmer. Because it takes a long time for the oceans to heat and cool, at the date of the Winter Solstice the seas are still relatively warm from the summer; thus, the coldest winter days don't usually arrive until mid-February, when the oceans have had a chance to cool down significantly. For the same reason, the hottest days of summer don't usually arrive until August, although the Summer Solstice actually occurs in June.

It occurs to me that perhaps we need a political, rather than a seasonal solstice. Right about now we could use a little tilt on our political and social axes away from cold, darkness of spirit, and hyperpartisan discord, and a resultant emergence from the darkness of partisan rancor to the warmth and light of ... well ... bipartisan rancor.

Stranger things have happened.

Have a good day. Spend those extra hours of cold and darkness cuddled up with your loved one. Or your spouse, whatever.

More thoughts tomorrow.



Mike said...

I think I read where because of the timing of the solstice this year the west coast solstice is actually tomorrow.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Thanks! You gave an explanation for why we sometimes had to run the air conditioning on Christmas Day (in Louisiana), but February is typically colder although the days are getting longer. :-)

Banana Oil said...

Now is the winter of our political discontent. I'll follow your cuddling suggestion. And avoid lutefisk.