Animal Encounters / Georgia / History / Nature / Science

Winter Solstice on the Island

 

Cat

While reluctant risers were pushing snooze buttons this morning, the earth-sun duo made some astronomical news … the winter solstice occurred. In addition to being the day with the fewest hours of sunlight, it signals the start of winter in the northern hemisphere, and by default, in our little corner of the world.

Coincidentally, this kitty and I were fogged in at the beach when the autumn-to-winter change occurred. I was there for a bit of cardio, and he was there for some recreational hunting before a proper breakfast at one of the mansions nearby.

And even though it’s the first day of winter, and the muhley grass appears to be covered in ice, temperatures in the upper 50s meant water droplets instead.

Droplets

This is the same inter-dune meadow I photographed a few months ago when the muhley grass was showing its best autumn color. The contrast is remarkable.

IMG_1692 - Version 2

 

Cat Sq FI

For most beach-goers, a foggy day is nothing but bad news. However, the fog changes the feel of the beach so dramatically, I’ve come to enjoy the transformation. A heavy fog mutes the sounds from land, and amplifies the noise of the breaking surf. Even the squawking seabirds are grounded on the beach and sit in quiet flocks. So if you find breaking waves peaceful, a foggy day at the beach is the thing.

One year ago today, we were in Athens and I posted on how the ancient Greeks observed the winter solstice. The Romans used the solstice as an excuse to celebrate Saturnalia. According to timeanddate.com:

“It was held to honor Saturn, the father of the gods, and was characterized by the suspension of discipline and reversal of the usual order. Grudges and quarrels were forgotten while businesses, courts and schools were closed. Wars were interrupted or postponed and slaves were served by their masters. Masquerades often occurred during this time. A mock king was chosen, usually from a group of slaves or criminals, and although he was permitted to behave in an unrestrained manner for seven days of the festival, he was usually killed at the end.”

It sounds like fun, but I wonder if the mock king read the fine print in the contract.

Happy Solstice,
James

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