Happy solstice!

Happy Winter Solstice everyone! I’m not ashamed to admit I’m celebrating and rejoicing over Winter Solstice. No it doesn’t have some mythical or religious importance like it may for others. For my family, the fact that the days are now going to be getting longer is reason enough to celebrate. We live sub-arctic Alaska where this time of year sunlight is a rare treat. Right now it is 230 in the afternoon and the sun is setting. However, from now until summer solstice, days will be getting lighter. Yeah! We’re halfway through the winter.

Living in subarctic Alaska, where the day length can literally change by an hour a week, you get more of a definite realization of the meaning of solstice. It’s a halfway point in the dark, cold winter. It’s a time to celebrate the renewal of sunshine. It’s not religious, it’s a human celebration of survival in a harsh world.

God’s promise of spring is universal and worldwide. Perhaps that’s the reason why from early civilizations to most modern religions there’s a festival this time of year. I don’t think it any coincidence the miracle of Hanukkah (festival of lights) is this time of year. It could be why the early Catholic church chose this festival to lay Christmas onto (transforming the birth of the sun to the birth of the Son). A mid-winter holiday gives people something to look forward to in an otherwise dull part of the year.

In Fairbanks there were fireworks last night after an indoor street fair downtown yesterday. We are sick so we stayed home and watched the fireworks out the living room window. Not a great view because of the trees, but still they were nice fireworks.

I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a more severe form of the winter blahs. It is caused by the short day length. It saps your energy and sends you into a depression. Each year is different though. Some years are better than others. Exercise and diet help, although the symptoms send you craving for exactly what is worst for you: carbs and sleep. For most people with SAD, the fall is worse than spring. I’m one of the unusual who have more trouble in the spring. It’s a classical case of lots of ambition but no motivation. Solstice is the halfway point. With the increasing day length, there is more time to get outdoor exercise in the sunshine, which is the best possible thing to lesson the symptoms.

So I say, Hooray for Solstice! Welcome back sun!


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