At 1230 am last night, a very subtle event occurred that only occurs once each year. In the northern hemisphere, which is where I live, the North Pole arrived at the angle of tilt that is furthest from the sun: 23.5 degrees away. As far as nights go for me, it wasn’t really much different from ones previous to it. But at the same time I am aware that a cycle of the earth has completed itself on the one hand and another has begun again on the other. Today is the beginning of increasingly longer days, increasingly more light in the northern hemisphere. Our neighbors south of the equator are of course at their summer solstice where the earth’s tilt is closest to the sun.
At the moment of the solstice, it appears as if the sun stands still before moving again in the opposite direction. Many sources explain the origin of the word. Solstice is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still)1. It is a pivotal moment.
I find it interesting (one might say ‘emusing’) to be reminded that the solstice is linked to the changing of the seasons2 and I feel a part of that. I certainly feel the cold (though less so than it’s supposed to be these days). The cold of winter can be invigorating especially when balanced with the warmth of home.
The solstice has been celebrated and honoured for thousands of years. How did early peoples figure out exactly when it occurs? I honour them for their wisdom and knowledge that is so often downplayed.
I didn’t celebrate the solstice this year though it’s in my mind. I feel reverence for the earth. It’s my home. Being able to observe nature just doing what it does fascinates me, captivates me and rejuvenates me. I can’t quite put my finger on how exactly but it touches me, inside and out. This blog – launched on the solstice – is one part of my contribution to caring for the earth, to giving back when so much is taken. It is my way of reaching out to others to share information and some thoughts about it that I hope will resonate with you. In turn and in your own way, perhaps you will reach out to help the earth to be healthy again for all of its inhabitants.
Short of something actually catastrophic, the earth will continue to go on rotating on its axis as it circles the sun. Winter and summer solstices will come and go. A question that comes to my mind is ‘will humans continue to experience it?’. This planet that I call home is being changed – significantly. Will it truly continue to be hospitable for life? What kind of life will be able to survive if we continue on this path?
The solstice is a turning point for the earth. Wouldn’t it be amazing if this solstice could also be a turning point for the earth’s inhabitants?