Saturday, December 21, 2013
The December Solstice
At 6:11 GMT (11:11 am CST) the north pole reached it's furthest tilt away from the sun, and the planet has achieved it's southern solstice. In the northern hemisphere, we experience the shortest period of daylight of the year, while the southern hemisphere receives its longest day. This is the time of the midnight sun for the south polar region.
As in June, the exact date and time of the December solstice varies from year to year, but it is always on December 20, 21, 22 or 23. Interestingly, because the earth's orbit around the sun is an elliptical pattern, the seasons are not exactly uniform in length. Northerners who love the warmer months will be delighted to learn that spring and summer are slightly longer seasons than winter and fall!
The Shortest Day
by Susan Cooper
So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
For your Saturday Inspiration, here is the final violin concerto in Vivaldi's Four Seasons: Winter.
Performed by violinist Julia Fischer accompanied by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields at the National Botanical Gardens in Wales.