The Sun Stands Still
Good day to you folks. How fair thee with thy lack of light? Really though, have you been clocking the actual amount of daylight we have been graced with of late. We currently experience around nine hours and 15 minutes of sunlight a day. Maybe you have missed it with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. If I may, those of us in the northern hemisphere have slowing been orbiting our way to days increasingly filled with more dark than light. Tomorrow, December 21st, marks the tipping point at which daylight hours begin to gratefully extend. This shortest day of the year is known to many as the true beginning of winter, the winter solstice *1. Let’s brush off some of that dusty knowledge in our brains as to how these changes in daylight occur.
Due to the 23.5 degree tilt of the earth on its axis the sun appears to move north and south in our sky as the earth makes its orbit around the sun, which we earthlings down here experience as the passage of one year and the change of seasons. Over the course of this annual trip there are four “major way stations”.
Two of these “major way stations”are the spring and autumnal equinox. They occur around the 21st of March and September respectively. Equinox in Latin refers to ‘equal night’ as these are the days within our year that light and dark are most equally shared within a 24 hour period
The remaining two “major way stations” occur around the 21st of December and June. We call them the winter and summer solstice. Solstice, again pulled from Latin, means ‘sun stands still’ or ‘sun turns around’. After that summer solstice we are on a continued celestial path to darkness which culminates around the winter solstice. As we see it from earth, the sun’s passage across the sky continues lower and lower south as the winter solstice approaches. The winter solstice marks the sun’s lowest point in the sky after which it will begin its perceived ascension north as the hours of daylight continue to increase until around the summer solstice.
What I’m trying to tell you is… we are on our way out of the dark days my friends. Someday very soon you will suddenly notice the daylight hours getting longer and with that, the hope of growth and new life.
*1 Not entirely scientifically accurate.