Winter Solstice

December 21 — Winter Solstice has arrived once again. Not the ‘end of the world’ as some chose to believe, but rather a turning point. I looked outside this morning and saw this picture of the overnight snowfall added to several earlier ones this week. Yep, the world is still here alright.

Summer weeds transformed

Summer weeds transformed

Winter Solstice is interpreted in various ways across the globe, though. Do you feel it’s the first day of winter? Or do you agree with my preference for logic and symmetry, and see this turning point as midwinter? Seems logical for Canada, with its four seasons. I like the anticipation of varying temperatures and hours of daylight and darkness, colorful changes in plants and the migration of birds, all of which give the calendar year its predictable parts. With spring and fall as
transition seasons, it leaves a bigger chunk of time to allot to summer and
winter.

It breaks down fairly evenly, really: March and April bring the longer
days and warmer spring weather. Summer arrives with hot days even in May, then continues through June, July, August…but by September, there’s a distinct
change in the air. Come October, there’s no doubt it’s fall! After the leaves
have turned, fallen, and there are hints of snow, the days grow shorter,
cloudier…downright dull, quite often. November. My least favorite month (but a
good one to dig into writing!). In many parts of this country, overnight
temperatures are below freezing meaning snow will begin to stick on the ground
long before Winter Solstice. It makes sense to me that winter begins with
November, and continues through February.

DSCN4833That makes Winter Solstice,
‘the deep midwinter’. Logically, it is the shortest day and the pivotal point
when things begin to turn around. That sounds like ‘middle’ to me. It’s the
same for summer solstice: June 21, the longest day. Another point of change.
Surely it’s what Shakespeare had in mind for ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

DSCN4832Every year at this time, folks grumble about huge dumps of snow in some parts of the country, ‘when it isn’t even winter, yet’. But if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck…..? To the folks shoveling it, it’s winter. And think about it this way: if this is only the beginning of winter, it means Canada only has a little over two months of winter, until spring comes in March. Who’s gonna believe that? On the other hand (for those who will tire of it soon and begin wishing for spring) if this is midwinter, the cold season is half over. You’re a winner either way, since March is only two months away.

DSCN4834

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