The shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year in our northern hemisphere occurs in late December. An astronomical phenomenon that reminds me of how we are all connected to this tiny planet, flying around our sun star, while rotating on a slowly wobbling axis of our little planet that is cast about in a solar system that is part of what we call the Milky Way. Our little neighborhood of planets revolving around our sun is a part of a galaxy amidst a universe of billions of galaxies and stars. How small we are indeed.
There is a rhythm to this dance of life, bringing the seasons and the experiences of longer summer days and shorter winter days where life has an opportunity to cycle through birth, life, aging, death and rebirth. Mankind has created festivals, gatherings, rituals, holidays and celebrations around all seasons. Winter is no different.
As food did not grown in winter, starvation, famine and fear tormented man in early cultures. These cultures soon learned the cycle of life and prepared for the cold of winter so as to emerge in the spring ready for planting, growth and harvest in the months ahead.
Well know monuments were built to track the movement of the sun as its angle traverses the sky though out the year to let man know when each season was ending and the next was approaching. In doing so, man began to gain control of life, and survival of the species grew.
Today, we are experiencing another cycle, one of our own making and beyond that of the stars. A cycle of climate instability where the normal means of observing the movement of the sun and our planet will not easily predict the seasons. We are overheating our earths atmosphere with carbon pollutants effecting the jet streams and the oceans. We may soon find our planet has gotten too hot to enjoy a “winter” and experience a continued warming and humidity levels that will create shifting and unpredictable weather patterns. The results will likely be extremes of flooding and droughts for future generations who may never see snowfall in their lifetimes.
The earth will keep on spinning, our solar system will remain in its massiveness of space, but it will be up to us as to whether future generations will experience the predictability centuries of humans have enjoyed. Will this generation be the last to be able to stop this collapse of life on earth which will surely come to effect billions of people and life on this small planet?
Man has been in denial of this impending reality, denying 97% of our scientific communities exclamations for concern about the warming planet. Like cultures of the past who lived with ritualistic and symbolic expressions of belief in a mythical deity’s ability to bring forth the spring, we know better yet fail to act.
The Winter Solstice awaits our awareness, intelligence and resolve to survive. We will not be able to change the rotation of the planet, or the movement of the stars, but we surely can effect how we treat our planets atmosphere, one that we depend on to survive.