Yesterday, this year’s Winter Solstice, may have been the darkest one we’ve experienced yet, a Super Solstice, if you will.
For one thing, this month’s new moon fell on the day. All right, it rose just before 8:00 a.m. and set just after 2:30 p.m., so it didn’t really affect the available light nearly as much as our weather. We had clouds on the deck—we were completely socked in. In the 10:00 a.m. hour, when we usually watch the sun make its southern transit from the far side of the Coast Range across Lynn Canal to behind the southern point of our property, (see Tracking the Homestead’s Individual Winter Solstice) we saw nothing of the sun, not even a vague light spot in the cloud cover!
No matter. We filled our day with joy and laughter. We spent the brief daylight (6 hours and 3 minutes, a whole minute or two more than Haines, to our north!) chopping and stacking firewood against the hope that the day’s brief snowfall augured more to come. Even so, we worked in shirt sleeves, in a warm rain and mild temperatures, at least in the mid 30s.
As darkness fell, closing our shortest day, we baked round bread and crackers for a light Solstice “feast.” We decided that the Christmas season holds so many big dinners, we might well mark the starving time of midwinter with a proportional meal. Then, by lamp light, because no breeze blew that day, we continued an epic domino game we’d started the night before. We played music, and lit the Christmas tree against the gathering dark. Aly told us of her visit last spring to Newgrange, one of mankind’s most beautiful Solstice markers in Ireland (see No Webcast of Winter Solstice Sunrise at Newgrange this Year?). All three of us, home together in our snug little cabin with a world of darkness outside, felt our hearts full of light.