Solstice!

Here in the subarctic north, our daylight hours are now at their zenith. For my local area, that means that sunset is at 11:38 p.m. and sunrise is at 3:39 a.m. That’s four hours of “darkness,” sort of. The dark we get is actually quite twilight-ish. I have spent time further north where there’s no darkness at all, but as I get older I find myself more sensitive to that.

From now on, our daylight hours will become shorter and shorter until we reach the December 21 solstice, when the sun will rise at 10:07 a.m. and set at 3:04 p.m.

We are very much governed by light. The fading of light, the darkness, can cause us to hunker down, to contract in on ourselves as we protect ourselves from the perceived dangers inherent in the darkness.

But the same is true of too much light; it’s just in the obverse. Light-induced insomnia that leads to a loss of mental acuity and a sort of stunned passivity is equally as dangerous. We can all recognise when someone is suffering from spring and/or summer insomnia. The dazed, stupefied stare is enough.

Sunset

But darkness gets a very bad rap. It represents danger, evil, and malevolence while light represents purity, freedom, and clarity.

They both have their drawbacks and delights. The winter solstice means that there are great winter celebrations and gatherings and invigorating coolness while the light means that there’s warmth and green plants and lovely sun-soaking.

I think that people are the same. We have both dark and light, and neither is completely good or bad. They act in a complex tandem interplay, creating velvety shadows or glaring light. One without the other?

Then there’s no beauty. We need them together in their symbiotic interdependence.

31 thoughts on “Solstice!”

  1. How well you have linked light and darkness of the day to humans as well…and what you say is so correct..both are needed in their ‘symbiotic interdependence’ 💟💟

  2. I remember well visiting friends in Fairbanks – and the socializing that went on until the wee hours of the morning, because it was still light! One of my friends said that they stored up social time in the summers, because it was harder to feel sociable in the winter (and harder to get out!)

  3. Well said Lynette. I have been in YK twice on the solstice. At that point, darkness is a relative term. Did the Midnight Golf Tournament happen this year? Cheers. Allan

    1. Thank you very much, Allan. 🙂 It was held on Friday, Covid-safe. The air was thick with fun and mosquitoes (we have the worst batch I have totally ever seen, and they are gigantic). Cheers.

  4. This is so true: “But darkness gets a very bad rap.” Why are we so afraid of the dark when it can be the light that blinds? I think both can be scary and both can have it’s benefits. The darkness helps us balance are bodies into sleep. Great thoughts and photos!

    1. Thank you very much, Benjamin. 🙂 I think darkness gets so much blame because people can’t see as well in the dark and that signals our limbic system to be wary. But you would think that our big brains would compensate for that, right? 😉

  5. you can blame the moon for our seasons Lynette. It hit the earth millions of years ago and permanently knocked our axis off by 23 degrees. So the Earth tilts toward and away from the sun as it revolves around it.
    Giving you much less darkness this time of year.
    Personally I prefer the darkness………must be the Vampire in me.

  6. Well said. It’s all about finding the right balance between dark and light. The first time we visited Iceland was during the summer solstice and it took some time adjusting to get used to the nearly 24 hours of light. The second time I visited Iceland was in November where there wasn’t nearly as much daylight. It was neat experiencing such a contrast in the amount of day light. Either way, I still had a great time during both visits.

    1. Thank you very much. 🙂 I have been to Iceland a number of times as well, once at New Years and another time in early June. It’s such a starkly beautiful country and of course very familiar to northerners! If you have an opportunity to go for New Years it’s very worthwhile. The fireworks start as soon as it’s dark and build up to the most amazing display at midnight.

      1. Iceland definitely sounds like an awesome place to ring in the New Year. My love of travel started in Iceland so it has such a special place in my heart. I would love to return someday.

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