Monday, December 21, 2009

Turning



The way we used to celebrate winter solstice in San Francisco (when I was part of Reclaiming) was to gather at Ocean Beach, build a bonfire, sing songs and - if we were moved to do so - take off our clothes and plunge briefly into the ocean to cleanse away the old year. A winter plunge in SF, btw, is not actually much worse than a summer plunge. I always thought I wouldn't do the plunge, but always ended up inspired to join my community, whooping and yelping in the ice cold Pacific. It was fun, with the benefit that afterwards I was warm for the rest of the evening.

After the beach, we were supposed to hang out with friends and coverners, and stay up all night, then gather in another place to sing up the sun in the morning. That second bit never made sense to me. I mean, the longest night of the year? Wouldn't dream incubation followed by a long, luxurious sleep make more sense? That's what the bears do, after all.

I did stay up all night a couple of times. Once I was even invited to the Studio 54 of solstice parties, but even the glamour of celebrating with Starhawk did not inspire me to enjoy the all night vigil. It seems counter intuitive to greet the new solar year exhausted. Doesn't it? Similarly, I don't understand the tradition of getting stinking drunk on New Year's Eve because that means the first day of the new year will be spent enduring the misery of a hangover - not a great way to launch a year if you ask me.

Last night I didn't exactly celebrate, but I noted the winter solstice by having some delicious soup for dinner, reading and wrapping gifts. I turned in early and slept hard.

Winter has officially arrived. Happy solstice to all (including those celebrating summer solstice)!

21 comments:

tut-tut said...

Wonderful images, Reya. I haven't been by lately. Your banner is thought-provoking.

willow said...

Happy solstice, to you, as well, dear Reya! Enjoy all that glorious snow today!

Liza said...

Happy solstice Reya!
I can't do the all-nighters either, never could, and as for the hangover after New Year's, no thanks! A solstice at Studio 54? I can't even imagine what that party would have been like.
Love the photos.

steven said...

hi reya - we got eight hours and a bit of sun yesterday. well that was the rumour. the snowy cloudcover placed sunshine squarely out of my experiencing. inside the golden fish world headquarters there were lights galore. little twinkly ones and flickering candle ones. i went outside just before i retired to bedlam and thanked the world for the glorious autumn just passed. i asked the world for eyes to see all that i could see of this winter.
i love the little birds reya! love them! peaceful snowy days reya. steven

ellen abbott said...

Here comes the sun...

Let the sun shine, let the sun shine in...

Butternut Squash said...

Happy Solstice! Hooray. I woke up this morning and I wasn't sure if it really was morning. It was dark and cloudy and the snow was glowing eerily..mysteriously inviting.*I think the little birds were posing just for you, excellent photo.

Linda Sue said...

God Yule Reya! It is dark now and will continue to be dark , but I have noticed that as I age time is quicker, long winters are shorter, time rolls me over and over. No matter the celebration I like to scoot under the covers by 10:30...Stay cosy and well, cheers for the new year!
xxxooo
Eat a cookie!

Auntie, aka Coco's Mom said...

Yep, today is indeed the shortest day of the year. The great thing is that after today, the days actually begin to lengthen. Okay, very slowly. But still....

Mrsupole said...

Happy winter solstice day to you. Glad you got to sleep. Wish I could get some sleep like that.

The snow looks wonderful and it looks like you just might have a White Christmas. That is so cool, but I am okay with just seeing it through your eyes.

And hangovers are terrible, so I never understand why people feel this need to drink so much so as to give theirselves one. Maybe their brains disappear after the third drink. Once was enough for me and I was through.

Thank you for sharing the pictures, they are beautiful.

God bless.

NanU said...

I love those little birds, and am terribly envious of all your snow. All we got here was a little teaser that's gone already.

The solstice is a wonderful day. I've always wondered why New Year's is ten days late, but no matter, Jan 1 and its eve is such a lame holiday (I'm with you on preferring an excellent sleep!) that Nature's new year is better off remaining obscure.

Happy Day!

Whitney Lee said...

I love the birds!
The snow is so gorgeous, isn't it? There's such a hush in the air at first; it makes me feel as though I am alone in the world. It's very refreshing. We ended up with over a foot; the dog and the munchkin were thrilled!
I think one of the best things about not drinking is that I wake up feeling good each morning. Even after all this time I don't take that for granted.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

how I love the photo of the birds!!!

I enjoyed reading the account of your sf celebration! I am impressed that you took the plunge!

we gathered with some of our fellow solstice revelers last night to break bread, share soup, poems, and call back the light (yes, a day early but since today's a 'school night' as we call it, sunday was better for everyone) we skipped the walk to the shore of lake erie this year, but maybe next year I'll share your plunge ritual and see if there's any takers!

happy solstice. by the way, do you recognize the roof turret on the mouse today?

happy solstice!!

lakeviewer said...

This is a happy photo! Enjoy Winter Wonderland.

Chris Wolf said...

"to everything, turn, turn turn
there is a season turn turn turn..."

Ronda Laveen said...

Boy Howdy, you are right about there not being much difference between a dip in the Pacific be it summer or winter.

My evening was amazingly similar to yours except the early to bed part.

Blessings in the light and power of the new year.

Love, love, love!

debra said...

Happy solstice to you, too, Reya. And this is the day that, 18 years ago, my youngest daughter was welcomed to Planet Earth.

ArtSparker said...

Was just up all night on Saturday celebrating the almost solstice...I have to say, it's a great interruption to the normal and a good marker.

Reya Mellicker said...

Every one of you - thank you for these comments. We're all such characters, aren't we?

The birds were just there, posing, apparently.

Artsparker, I salute you! I couldn't enjoy the all-nighters, not ever, not even in college. I am diurnal.

Barry said...

Happy Solstice Reya and I have to say I love that second photo with the blase of red and yellow primary colours against the snowy background. Just perfect.

Here in dull, grey, snowless Toronto, if the sun rose and set on the solstice it was impossible to notice. It kind of got less grey as the day progressed and then gradually became dark again. And tomorrow we get 5 minutes of more less darkness than we did today.

Something to celebrate.

blonderthanyou said...

"but even the glamour of celebrating with Starhawk did not inspire me to enjoy the all night vigil." ...omg i loooove you

Bee said...

Today I was walking in the snow and I was more than usually aware of the birds. Loved that picture of all of those little ones.

I agree with you about the solstice! Better to have a long winter's nap and wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

(I've so enjoyed looking at your snowy pics from the last few days. Wow! Snow everywhere.)