22 hours ago
Monday, December 21, 2009
Family Astronomer Royal, Dr. Richard Schwartz reminds today is the winter solstice. High Holy days for for my ancient Celtic ancestors, and many current world religions.
Can you visualize the lifetimes of work involved, watching the stars, observing (a skill currently out of favor)the natural phenomena, laying the ground work necessary for the ancients to develop an annual calendar, first notice then dead reckon a lightest and darkest day of the year, sell the notion of a solstice and its significance to the local high priests, the annual wait for decent weather necessary to replicate its happening, and then to sign up your neighbors to rejoice in its coming, and hoping its not cloudy that day? The mind reels at the improbability. Yet it happened. Over and over. Civilizations around the world built solar observatories to await the solstices.
We are dismissive of early man's accomplishments, but many of their findings hold true thousands of years later. Things you or I couldn't do, were done by people before Google,Internet or wireless remote cable television.
So let us rejoice. The dark days are behind us, the days grow brighter, spring is not far.
Finally, in an annual tradition of my own, and to celebrate the miracle of the seasonal snow fall let's celebrate with Robert Frost.
Have a wonderful solstice.