solstice

From Wikipedia:

The winter solstice occurs exactly when the axial tilt of a planet’s polar hemisphere is farthest away from the star that it orbits. Earth’s maximum axial tilt to our star, the Sun, during a solstice is 23° 26′. More evidently from high latitudes, a hemisphere’s winter solstice occurs on the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the sun’s daily maximum elevation in the sky is the lowest. Since the winter solstice lasts only a moment in time, other terms are often used for the day on which it occurs, such as midwinter, the longest night or the first day of winter.

The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the winter solstice usually occurs on December 21 to 23 each year in the Northern Hemisphere, and June 20 to 23 in the Southern Hemisphere.

Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.

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There is less daylight tomorrow than any other day this year. The longest night of the year lays before awaits.

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12/22/99:

i went home
awake and shaking
on the longest night of the year
to myself i’ll proclaim
i will stand behind my name
push forward through winter
this cannot stay the same
but the night comes
i can’t sleep
dawn arrives
i can’t eat
awake and shaking
longest night of the year
(your voice i still hear)
(your voice i still hear)
and it’s left
me wide open and shattered
and your voice i still hear,
longest night of the year.

I wrote it in a spiral notebook in a smoking room at a coffee shop by a bus stop on Torday Rd. I filled a 200 page purple Hilroy every couple of months and then went and bought another one, back then. I still have most of them. In 1999 I was 20. And I was 16 and I was 12. The same day I wrote this my six best friends and I were about to be in the same room together that evening. It had been a number of months since that had happened. I worked at the mall. I got drunk all over town. I fell in love every night. I got my heart hurt a lot while simultaneously acting like a complete arsehole to everybody. I think I was going to work at the mall for 2. I would have my mom drop me at the bus stop around 1230 on days I worked at 2. I would sit in the coffee shop smoking room and smoke and write for an hour. I always felt like I was weird.

I had been seeing a girl that I thought I really liked. I still see her around occasion. I didn’t really like her. She had good taste in music though. I went to a couple of shows with her. I was hooked. I just didn’t know what it was I was hooked on. She eventually realized I wasn’t quite what she thought. That was fine. I was sad. I wrote melancholy things about her. Shortly I got over it. I listened to This Desert Life by Counting Crows (released Nov 1/99) a lot that winter, maybe more than anything. Beautiful Midnight had owned the fall. I listened to Counting Crows’ previous albums a lot too. I was depressed. I had been taught my whole life that being depressed didn’t matter. So I pretended I was not.

I was 20. Today I am 32. Solstice. At 20, nothing’s pressing. At 32, everything is late. Future? Isn’t that half-over already? Jesus Christ, I coulda sworn it was all just gonna take care of itself. No? I didn’t have a plan B. What do I want to do with my life? Why I am I still asking that? Kids? Is it something we feel an animal instinct to create? Something we feel we’re supposed to do? Why bring people into this world when you could just run away from them? This world is shit, look at it! You don’t realize at 20 that you’ll never stop being asked questions. You decide along the way whether you want to keep asking them yourself. By 32 you just hope the answers get easier. Or hope the answers you did all these years’ research for are the right ones. Sometimes you just have to wait and see. A day at a time. Remember what you can. Learn from it and take it forward. Answer the questions. Always a brand new day, always a brand new season. And it is okay. It is okay.

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