Solstice Memories

Solstice Memories

It’s opposite day!  And solstice to boot!  All wrapped into one.  Well at least in my world over here…

Almost two months into a stretch of pretty peaceful Southern Alabama living.  I doubt we’ll get snow, but we did wake up to frost covered grounds this morning.  It’s funny how you acclimatize.  Two years ago I was preparing to transition from a very snow laden and chilly Anchorage to an even more frigid Fairbanks, Alaska.  The temperature was certainly part of the adventure.  I will always love Winter, but those days of tromping through -20 to -40 degree weather definitely helped to tone down (severely tone down) my cold weather obsession.

There was something nice about having a frost tinged Solstice morn.  Solstice is, naturally, an important day in the year and one that holds a rich and layered history. As the story seems to go, the current date for Christmas was slated in large part  to capitalize on the celebration and religiosity already surrounding Winter Solstice. Seems like it was a wise maneuver.  Christmas in the thick of summer seems like a strange prospect. It’s an entire nights worth of the History Channel’s Uncovering-the-Mysteries-of-Christmas-Traditions that I simply haven’t seen. Yet.

Yes, for now I’ll have my tree and egg nog and not know why or for what it means, thank you very much.

I thumbed through some of my photos, searching for anything that might seem fitting with this post.  I found what I was looking for when I came upon the photo I took of two girls swimming in what had to be rather chilly waters, on the eve of Summer Solstice in the far flung Norwegian community Longyearbyen on the Svalbard archipelago.  I will never forget the audience at the beach, visitors marveling on these swimmers hardy spirits. Nor will I forget the evening that followed, when the sun barely neared the horizon and I sat on the beach with several other visitors and townsfolk, sipping on beer, enjoying the strong rays of sun in the fresh cold air long past midnight.

the swim

Longyearbyen, June 2002, ~ 23:00