At this time of year, everyone is patiently awaiting the Christmas and New Year’s Holiday – for whatever that means; time off work, family parties, travel, or just some stress-free relaxation.
But science geeks know that today, December 21, at precisely 5:03 p.m. CST in the US, there’s a reason to start the celebrations early: the winter solstice. I’m one of those science geeks, and for the past three years I’ve written a post on the winter solstice.
In 2011 we were in the middle of an RTW, and spent the month of December in Athens. Ancient Greeks didn’t let the solstice pass without notice, and their month-long Festival of Poseidon was a great chance to blow off some steam.
The solstice in 2012 was our first year on St. Simons, and as newbies, we loved watching the changes of seasons at the beach. But with a tip of the hat to history, I also wrote about the Roman version of solstice celebrations; Saturnalia.
In last year’s post I cranked up the geekometer a bit. The post was primarily about shadow length, and thanks to the sun’s angle, how it changes depending on location. With some help from blogging buddies Sue and Dave in the great white north (Calgary) we made a quasi-scientific observation: an 18 ft shadow there vs. my 9 ft!.
And Lisa, Mississippi native, gifted artist and Ecuadorian expat, lives 10 miles from the equator. A link to her wonderful, clever post on the summer solstice provided, in science-speak; another data point. Surprisingly, our readers exposed a bit of their inner-geek with lots of funny and interesting comments on this post.
If Terri and I have planned properly, we’re in place somewhere at the holidays, and not on the road. It’s a relaxing and reflective time for us. A time to digest what’s happened, and a time to look ahead. If the sun makes an appearance today, we’ll take a couple of adult beverages and watch ol’ Sol sink into the marsh in the west. Thanks again to all our readers who’ve hung in there with us for another year. Happy Solstice Y’all!
James & Terri
P.S. Deborah Byrd’s Earthsky website is a fun place to learn all about the solstice.