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Green Living: Celebrating the Solstice

December 20th, 2011 | Posted by Claire Sommer in Green Living

For gardeners, astronomers and nature buffs, Wednesday night into Thursday morning ushers in the Winter Solstice.

In my house, the Winter Solstice — the shortest day and longest night of the year — means both that winter has begun and that the sunlight is returning. Even though the natural world seems to have stopped cold, the earth’s movement towards spring is underway.

Whatever your faith tradition, I believe that acknowledging the Winter Solstice is an opportunity to connect with the seasons and contemplate how we depend on the sun’s energy for life.

I like to light a lot of candles on this night to fill my house with bright warmth.

The Solstice will occur Dec. 22 at 12:30 a.m. eastern time, marking the moment when the northern hemisphere is tilted the furthest distance away from the sun. After this point, as the earth continues its tilted axis rotation around the sun, our daylight increases by about a minute a day through January and February. Those minutes add up. By March, our days will be 12 hours long compared to the nine hours we get today.

If I can stay awake, I plan to be in my backyard garden appreciating the darkness and welcoming back the light.

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