Monday, December 21, 2009

Solstice In The Forest

Roger has been working on a post about firewood. I asked him on Sunday around 4:00 pm if he was going to post it for Monday. Nope. Uh-oh, that's disappointing. I was really hoping he would have a post here for you, but he said it just wasn't ready. So, I made this one up.
What is there to write about these days that's not a fist-shaking lament about health care, the environment, or the weather? Monday, December 21 at 9:47 am (PST) is the winter solstice. Living here below the tall cedars, pine and fir of the mountains, we are mostly aware of the transit of the sun like the shadow in Plato's cave. We don't see direct light but only the reflection of it. The reflection is the closest we come to seeing the real thing for what it is. (The above excellent photo is borrowed from the internet without permission.)
Just last year I watched that blazing sun rise over the bay every morning. I marked the earth's journey by the sun's angles day after day, week after week. An intimacy is created by such a ritual. I trusted it. I expected its golden presence to pour through the windows, up over the horizon and through the arch of the sky everyday. This was our reliable calendar. We knew it equally well on the clear days in Port Townsend, Wa. We knew the sun.
Here we are learning something new. We are learning to live where we don't directly see the sun, save for those halo moments from behind the tall trees. We see its light in the morning turning the trees a very warm rose and amber. But we don't even know where on the horizon it actually peeks up and rises. The little bit of sky we do see changes color at the beginning and end of the day. But the thing itself, the sun, we don't see from any of our windows.

Soon it will rise higher and go above the trees, but for today, it is at its lowest point. We only know it is there because we believe the rumors.

Happy Winter Solstice.

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