Monday, December 21, 2015

Winter Solstice 2015

It is a little past sunrise on the 21st of December in the Ozarks of Southwest Missouri. Sometime before the day ends the sun will reach its southern most point (23.5 degrees, the Tropic of Capricorn) in its annual cycle. The official time of the Winter Solstice is 4:49AM UTC on the 22nd (which is 10:49PM on the 21st in Springfield MO).

As a kid, I never really understood why the first day of winter marked the beginning of the returning sunlight hours and the beginning of the sun's journey northward, but also meant the beginning of the coldest season. I mean, shouldn't it be getting warmer? Shouldn't this day mark the beginning of spring instead of the beginning of winter?

There are many cultural traditions that we have adopted into our seasonal celebrations. Simple things like the Christmas ham at dinner, the giving of gifts, the lighting of the Yule log -- all have origins in winter solstice celebrations.
Not being a big fan of winter, I am excited to see the sun begin its journey back to the north so that we can get look forward to the coming spring and summer of 2016.

Chris and I will be making a winter trip to the tropics in January and I hope to make regular winter trips to warmer climates a part of the retirement routine (unless I can convince her that a home in the tropics is a much better idea). Some year we'll have to skip the tropics and journey a little farther south to visit my cousins Down Under. We can skip the early part of our winter and enjoy the beginning of their summer. One of them posted this picture yesterday saying this is where they'll be anchored for the next ten days.

I could deal with that for the holidays!

For now, a still working wife and a meager travel budget will keep us a little closer to home with the occasional trip to one of the many beaches of our southern neighbor.

Even though we are heading toward the colder months, the days will be getting longer and spring is on its way. It's only 104 days until the Cardinals open the 2016 baseball season!

John <><


eViL pOp TaRt said...

Trips to the tropics sounds like a great plan! I can tell you're looking forward to baseball season.

Mike said...

I looked up the solstice time. I found 10:49, 10:48, and 9:48. I think I'll wait until tomorrow and just know that it happened.