A Wild Winter Solstice

By , December 22, 2012

Yesterday, in the 9:00 am hour, we huddled against the sheltering Power Point slope on our beach, wrapped in our warmest coats, watching the sun transit our view, from the shoulder of Mt. Selby to our southern point. A thick band of storm clouds blocked most of the sunrise, warming and rising as it crested the horizon, at about the same rate as the sun. High winds whipped Lynn Canal, making the water “smoke” in the cold. As we watched, I realized that personally, there could be no better place to observe the Winter Solstice than right here. As the sun reached its highest point, we blew a few blasts on our conch shell in its honor, then hustled inside for hot drinks.

We had to warm up so that we could cross the bay and get to town for a final time before Christmas day.

Winter Solstice 2012

The Zeiger Homestead Winter Solstice 2012 (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

With the wind up around 50 knots (57+mph) and the temperature about 11°, the wind chill might have been about -17°. We had a hard time keeping our footing in the higher gusts.

It was well worth it. We had an excellent lunch with friends and made plans to get together at the cabin with them soon, purchased the last of our Christmas gifts and groceries, and took a bit of time at the library to admire the beautiful Christmas tree there. A chance meeting at the Post Office renewed an acquaintance with a former coworker who now lives in Haines. We even dropped off a very limited supply of homemade soap that’s now on sale exclusively at Alaska Rod’s downtown. They’re worth checking out if only to see my pathetic interim labeling. If I’d waited till I was happy with the design and wording, those who wanted devil’s club soap for Christmas would have been out of luck.

When we got home after another cold crossing, this time in the dark, we lit the Christmas lights, some oil lamps and candles, and sat down to a Solstice feast of homemade pizza. As a bonus, when I dug into our “wine cellar” for one of our last, treasured bottles of a favorite red from 2009, I pulled out a bottle from 2007!

Today, I reviewed the photos I took of the sun yesterday. Most of them weren’t very good—maybe the cold gave the camera trouble, maybe the battery was too low, perhaps a focus problem we’ve experience before has returned. Whatever happened, it’s okay.

I mean, it’s not like it’s the end of the world, after all.

2 Responses to “A Wild Winter Solstice”

  1. Jessie S. says:

    The photo you posted is beautiful. I’m jealous of the view! Not the -17 temp though. It got down to about 25 here last night and I was so cold.

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    I have to admit, Jessie, 25 is plenty cold enough for me, too.

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