Winter Solstice

Or…How I’d Know It Was The Shortest Day of the Year, Even Without Someone Telling Me.

I’ve always admired how ancient civilizations were so sophisticated in their knowledge of celestial events like Solstice, simply by using their intimate understanding and finely tuned connection to the natural world around them.

I do not possess those hypervilgilant skills, and rely mostly on the internet to tell me what’s going on all around. However, for Winter Solstice I think I could come pretty close to estimating the correct date. Here’s how:

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1) It gets dark, I feed the kids dinner and then tell them to get ready for bed, just like every other night. But at Solstice, and after the kids start howling about going to bed so early, I realize that I’ve made dinner at 4:30 and tried to send them to bed at 5:30. It’s just! so! dark!

2) After realizing we still have 3-4 more hours of awake time, we all snuggle up and read books to each other. Last year around this time we averaged about 3 hours of reading a night…probably because it’s so dark and there’s not much else to do. This certainly doesn’t happen in Spring/Summer/Fall.

3) My intake of carbs peaks right about now. Pancakes, waffles, cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, potatoes, turnovers, dumplings, muffins….it seems like the shorter the days get, the more I crave (and eat!) all these comfort foods. At Solstice I inhale so many carbs that I kind of go into a carb coma until Spring wakes me back up again with her array of fruits and veggies.

4) I get a little sappy and cranky. Fewer hours of daylight = depressive state = more carb eating = mood swings. It’s not pretty. But at least I know that from here on out, the daylight is slowly going to come back again.

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It’s not very scientific, but that’s how I know that Winter Solstice is here. Happy Shortest Day of the Year!