Monday, December 21, 2009

the year's midnight


The sun rose at 7:10 this morning and, barring some catastrophe of truly apocalyptic dimensions, will set at around 4:15 this afternoon. It's midwinter, though, technically, winter has just begun. It's the shortest day of our year and, here in the city, cold and covered with snow.

I think it's also my favorite day. Because, pessimistic as I am, I feel reasonably confident that right now it's as dark as it's going to get. And, from now until some faraway time in the middle of June, every day will be a little longer than the one before.

And the picture? It's St. Lucy, whose feast day (at least until they got rid of the Julian calendar) used to be the shortest day of the year. To learn practically everything about St. Lucy (including the St. Lucy song that I made up all by myself!) take a look at this post from a couple of Decembers ago.

16 comments:

Magpie said...

The eyes on the plate reminds me of that MFA painting you once posted - the one that was nothing but eyeballs.

I am glad that it is the shortest day of the year. Very very glad.

Magpie said...

http://www.candlegrove.com/solstice.html

Aurelia said...

I'm going to keep reminding myself that it is the darkest it will get and no more.....

Cause damn I am tired of this dark. It is not a sunny winter in TO. Almost dickensian in fact.

Caro said...

The sun didn't rise until 8:38 here and set again at 15:38. I quite like the dark winter evenings though - it's an excuse to sit inside by the fire.

The Nanny said...

How about the name Lucy? ;)

serenity said...

I feel the same way. Every December 21, I celebrate that the days from here on out start to get longer and longer.

This truly is my favorite day of winter.

xxx

christina(apronstrings) said...

It's also the longest night. I plan on getting into bed with the NYTimes I didn't finish yesterday. I turn the heat down so that I can get all snuggly. I do this every year-it's like a night to celebrate sleep.

Lindsay said...

Lol, I was wondering if that was a hint about the name Lucy.

niobe said...

It's absolutely not a hint. I love the name Lucia (nn Lucy), but, unfortunately, it runs into the dreaded pronunciation issues: LOO-sha; Loo-SEE-uh or Loo-CHEE-a.

areyoukiddingme said...

A. There's always Lucille ( my niece's name, and we all call her Lucy).

B. Shortest day = all future days until June are a little longer...that's the best part

C. Why does St. Lucia need to have a candle headdress in traditional ceremonies? That just sounds dangerous and painful.

three minute palaver said...

Dec 21st is the L-O-N-G-E-S-T day of the year down here in Oz. Our summer solstice. Yesterday went on forever... June 21st is the shortest, darkest day for us. or our winter solstice. we are so backward aren't we?

PS: I am hoping when you finally settle on one, you will share your wee, little girl's name with us. Please oh please oh please?

niobe said...

@three minute palaver: You know, even before you commented, I actually was thinking how Northern Hemisphere-centric this post sounded.

And I promise I'll share the name with anyone who's interested.

@are you kidding me: Dangerous? Yes. But absolutely stunning. There was a girl from Sweden in my kindergarten class and she invited me to her house for St. Lucia's Day. Her older sister walked down the stairs wearing a wreath of candles. And it took my breath away.

Christine said...

st lucy used to freak me out as a young Catholic school girl. those creepy eyes on a plate....

leanne said...

I love the name Lucia -- that's my daughter's middle name. So I'm a bit biased. We went with the Loo-SEE-uh pronunciation (though admittedly I never thought to pronounce it any other way -- it just had to be her middle name, that was all I knew).

Also I share your pessimism about the day.

Jacinta said...

3 Minute beat me to it! It's the longest day in Australia. Sun is up at 540 and down at 8pm, but it really feels same same as the next day.
I love the northern hemisphere winter tales. The shortest day is so noticeable.

Sue said...

I had forgotten about the solstice. Thank god it was the shortest day of the year. Lord, it was the certainly one of the lousiest for me in months and months. Oh, bad.

Today, the light was better. Just a bit.