Saturday, December 24, 2005

praise for the light of day

Christmas, beloved Christmas, is one of many winter solstice festivals.

The winter solstice has a special place in my heart. My office has no window -- this job is the only one I've ever had where that is so. I begin my day early and most of the year my morning ride takes place in darkness (with the politicians' penchant for "saving" daylight ensuring that this darkness extends longer than nature intended).

The event is for me just what mythology makes of it: a new beginning, a first tiny intimation of spring and summer days when the sun rises as I ride to work. I can imagine that day arriving -- at spring equinox -- when the sun pops up, flooding my face with its huge orangeness, over the earth's horizon at the end of Independence Avenue as I close in on my destination.

Here's a link to the Wikipedia entry on the topic.

This graphic, from National Geographic, shows earth's farthest tilt, which defines the event.

Here is sunrise at winter solstice over Newgrange, a famous megalithic monument in Ireland. Click to see the photo full size. The structure is aligned to catch the light of the midwinter sun.

Link to lots of photos of the sun illuminating the interior of Newgrange.

No comments: