Saturday, December 22, 2012


I grew up in a nature-honoring, candle-burning family who recognized the Goddess and totem spirits; talked to trees, and took long walks in the woods as a spiritual practice.  I guess you'd call us pagans.  When we lived in the deep South and it was just NOT DONE to not go to church, we joined a Unitarian congregation where we made play houses out of refrigerator boxes during Sunday School and I vividly remember my excitement over a service about Robin Hood.  Suffice it to say that we celebrated the winter Solstice as our mid-winter holiday complete with gifts and a tree, and celebrated the equinoxes and summer solstice besides.  One of the (many) things I cherish about Fairbanks is the community wide recognition of the Soltices.  Not only are they dramatic with daylight clocking in at a grand total of 3 hours and 41 minutes on the winter solstice and darkness never really falling on the summer solstice, they mark turning points in the year.  In an agrarian, land based culture without the distractions of our entertainment technologies and bright electric lights, these turning points held great significance even in temperate climes.  Here in the far North, the land and the weather and the climate have retained the primacy of their influence on our lives, in despite of our technologies.  And so these turning points are celebrated with a street faire in the summer and an often month-long count down and much conversation culminating in evening fireworks in the winter. 

Time lapse sun as seen from campus on solstice.
Photo credit : UAF 

 I have recently started attending the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship here as I enjoy the sense of participating in spiritual community.  Last week's service was in honor of the solstice and ended with everyone singing the Beatle's "Here Comes the Sun."  On Thursday, my yoga studio celebrated the Solstice with a 108 Sun Salutation practice.  The past week or so has been a difficult one for me and some of my nearest and dearest (but it is not my story to tell), and so after exchanging gifts by candlelight, over mulled wine, with my Darlin'Man,  I took the night of the winter solstice as a sleepy and warm hibernation.  I woke up with the sun, well into the day that the clock counts, and lingered in bed with coffee and holiday bread. 

This afternoon, driving into town to spend the day with my mother and my sister; as we came into the lowland valley just down from the Homestead the sun was hovering above the hills to the southwest and the moon hung just above the hills to the southeast.  It was pretty beautiful.  As a final gift from the universe, after so long of so cold, we had 0.7 degrees at home while Fairbanks was (and is) still trapped in 40 below. 

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely post Miss Mina! I'm glad you hibernated into the coziness that you so deserved; and that the Homestead gave you that precious gift of the arctic winter - a break in the cold.