Tomorrow, December 21, at 7:04 Eastern Standard Time (plus or minus a few for inaccurate clocks) is the winter solstice. This is the day when the sun, at noon local time, will be at 90° azimuth over the horizon (i.e. straight up) at the tropic of
Cancer Capricorn [ed: whoops, got summer and winter confused]. It’s typically called the “shortest day of the year” but that’s only true from an absolute measure of sunlight; it isn’t necessarily true from a “latest sunrise” or “earliest sunset” perspective.
From a December standpoint, I like the solstice because it’s a non-arbitrary holiday that very few people around here celebrate therefore I get to throw out the “merry solstice!” call and receive odd looks in return.
I also observe the solstice because for the entire months of November and December, I watch my available sunlight dwindle ’til I’m always running outside in the dark. While not a show stopper, I like running while I can see, rather than not. This day marks the turning point, when the daylight starts inching back, so I’m happy. I know that there will still be 6 weeks before a marked improvement occurs, but at least the days are getting shorter anymore.
The solstice is also the “first day of winter” which is a moniker I strongly object to. See the link for my opinions on the topic.
The solstice is an indicator to me that I’d better finish up my Christmas shopping (I’ll be doing some of that today).
Finally, it’s an excuse to blog about a world event without much baggage to go along with it. Solstice Huzzah!
Happy Solstice everyone. I hope you enjoyed your annual free ride around the sun.