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white-knuckling it to the solstice

December 17, 2012

This is my least favourite time of year, the last few days before the solstice.  You already

know that these are the days with the least daylight, but you may not know that this far

north, that’s really saying something.


Today, for example, our area will get just a smidge more than eight hours of daylight.


This Friday — the solstice — we’ll get about 90 minutes less daylight than Sonoma County,

California, where we moved from.  Of course, the flip side of that is that we get 90 minutes

more daylight on the June solstice. But do we really need it to still be light out at 10:30 p.m.?


I daresay not.


Here’s what it looks like:


That small glow in the middle of the trees is the sun.  I took this photo at 10:30 a.m. a

few days ago.  The sun never made it above the treeline.  At noon on cloudy days, it

sometimes seems like dusk is starting.  That’s been the toughest thing for me to adjust

to up here.


It’s not that there aren’t ample distractions, like the 49ers thrilling win over the Patriots

last night.  Some of the 35 college football bowl games will actually be worth watching,

and pro football is about to start its playoffs.  And its just a handful of days until the

Doctor Who Christmas special.


Yuletide festivities on the island are also in full swing.  We recently were treated to a

rousing  reworking of Sleeping Beauty by our community theatre.  Saturday night the

Quadra Singers delighted the citizens with its Winter Gathering Christmas concert.

Led in by a bagpiper, the Singers warmed the crowd with Celtic and traditional songs.

A four-piece Celtic band and highland dancers augmented the merriment.


On Sunday,  Jude and I attended a fundraiser for a counseling centre for adults affected

by abuse.  I blogged about it last year in this post.  It’s called Storied Brunch.  Attendees

munched on waffles, salmon rotini and apple crumble as local storytellers amused and

engaged them with tales fanciful and actual.


I was honoured to be one of the speakers.  The story I told was based on this post.  I

gotta tell you, public speaking freaks me out.  I shared that with the audience right

off.  The folks were very receptive.  No one threw any salmon rotini at me.


Jude helped me rewrite some of the story, and we arranged a hand signal for her to

remind me to slow down.  Problem was, I had my reading glasses on and didn’t look

up much, so I didn’t see her frantic waving.  Fortunately, I had printed “S-L-O-W-L-Y”

across the top of my script.


With all this support and excitement about, I know I’ll hang in there until the Return

of the Light.  I’ve done it for 67 consecutive years.  I’ll talk to you Friday, when the

blood should be seeping back into the skin over my knuckles.

  1. Gordon permalink
    December 17, 2012 10:43 am

    No connection between this and the Mayan calendar (12/21/12, right? My knuckles are white enough already.

    • December 18, 2012 6:57 am

      Just the solstice thing. Have you been reading the fun Doonesbury has been having with it?

  2. Inveterate Teacher permalink
    December 17, 2012 5:49 pm

    Cool picture Allen. Reminds me of the supernatural phenomenon called the Spook Light back in parts we both used to haunt. Which, speaking of, has been the subject of a television “Unsolved Mysteries” episode, with people I went to school with talking about it. My cousin in the state of Washington was recently featured on the “American Pickers” tv show too. Very weird having friends and family I haven’t seen in decades pop into my very own living room. Funny, and educational too, as I learned my family has its own “holler.” I’ll have to tell you about it sometime, or perhaps demonstrate…

    You hang in there and know that it really is Solstice and Christmas approaching and not Halloween as all this talk of blood seeping, white knuckles and spooky lights might suggest.

    • December 18, 2012 7:02 am

      Consider me calmed down, my sage. The Return of the Light really means something this far north.

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