Saturday, December 17, 2011

Update and Solstice

Our little town is still unsettled, but the holiday activities will help it through. Two people are still in the hospital in Duluth, but they will eventually heal physically. The shooter is unlikely to ever see the light of day again and the courthouse, scene of the mayhem, will be reopened on Tuesday. We are not immune to senseless violence, but let's hope we never accept it as normal.

In less than a week we will be in the Winter Solstice, or as it is often referred to "the reason for the season." I don't know exactly how long humans have been aware of the exact date, but I am pretty sure it goes back at least 5000 years. I am not enough of a scholar to remember the dates of construction of Stonehenge, but the people (or aliens for all I know) that built it  (late neolithic or early bronze age) knew when the solstice was. We have a local pageant with theater, puppets, dance, and music to celebrate the return of the light. Christmas as we know it was starting to be celebrated about 1500 years ago at this time of year. Between other religions and old pagan celebrations we end up with a lot of things to celebrate at about this time of year. Everyone has their own beliefs and I certainly have mine (or not), but the return of the light excites me. I do suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and really like being outside on sunny days even with temperatures well below zero. I have to take care of the horses, anyway, so I will be outside. So the frantic pace of human activity at this time of year makes me think that to some extent everyone in the northern hemisphere is fighting off the effects of short days. 

Then my mind starts to wander. I think of hanging out in my cousin's back yard in Bergen....

or those summer projects I'd like to do (isn't that boat finished yet??)...
But then reality strikes and I realize that I just need to make the best of what I am doing now...


  1. Great post. I do think the 5000 years is a bit of an understatement though. Can you deal with 200,000 years for "developing homo sapiens" And I think those ancestors arrived about 400,000 years ago. If Rome had not destroyed the library at Alexandria in Egypt our planet view would have been a lot different than it is today. Only hint we have is that Jesu ben Joseph (the Christos) studied there for years. learning to a Christos. Is it ok in 2011 to use the term Avatar? Maybe not for alot of people.

    Hope that pic of you on Draugen is recent and you are really up to riding him occasionally.

    BTW. I am so into lights at winter. I finally got an artificial treee that looks like a real one so I can leave it up till March 1. I am sure my neighbors think I am crazy but the lights are for me, not them.

  2. I just googled the shooting in Grand Marais. This is not something that hit the NoCal papers. Are we going to wake up soon? The shootings in Norway in July (the only mass violence since WWII) was one big wake up call. Now, we have random violence in "just south of Canada" Minnesota. Don't let people white wash this. As a retired Social Work Supervisor, I have only one comment: Sociopaths and Pychopaths are made and not born. I agree with Denmark: Where did society go wrong with this child? I was 12 when I realized that all fingers pointing at Hitler (LIFE magazine, etc. ) were 4 pointing back to ourselves. It scared me to death at that age.
    There is a great Native American "joke" about being good and being evil. Grandpa says to Grandson: You have 2 dogs. It depends on which one you feed. This is not a lesson for only the family, it is lesson for the community and the state and the country. No child under 5 left behind. I vote for no child under 18 left behind. Period.

  3. Wonderful pictures! Reminds me of Alaska. You couldn't get further from my 75 degree (anomalous, but, still) days and stunted palmettos if you tried.

    Like you, I prefer to celebrate something I can be sure of and the Winter Solstice is about all that really qualifies just now.

  4. You have a nice, well written blog here.

    Although Stonehenge predates both, I recall both the Sumerians and the Egyptians knew about the solstice, too.

    I'm getting old enough that the winter cold is beginning to annoy me this year.

  5. Nina, I am not sure of the timeline, but the biological evidence shows that we came out of Africa about 50,000 to 100,000 years ago. I think racists should know we are ALL African. Alas, the Draugen picture is from before. I won't be able to ride for at least another month. My biology background prejudices me to think that there is a genetic component to craziness, as well, but that certainly does not preclude environmental causes. We should never stop trying to understand and correct the situation that brings people to these points of no return.

  6. Nance, the climate has been gentle to us so far in "the dark time", but just knowledge of the lengthening days is enough to put a smile on my face.

    Paul, thanks for stopping by! The older I get the better the lifestyle of my "snowbird" neighbors looks. I even have some that go to New Zealand for a few months every winter. I am totally jealous of that.

  7. Jon, I will compromise at 100,000 years somewhere in East Africa and the Sinai Peninsula. Studied alot of theology when I was young (small Lutheran College in NorCal) and now at my age I finally understand Genesis 6:1-4 and how SOME people lived to be a thousand years. Have a great week.

  8. Nina, it's been a long time either way. They only made me take three religion courses at the Midwestern Lutheran college I went to. I don't want to live for a thousand years. I can't imagine how my joints would ache!

  9. I've been enjoying catching up on your blog, Jon (I didn't read or write over the Christmas holidays!), but then I came upon this news that I hadn't heard. How eerie and strange that these shootings occurred just before all of the murders I wrote about (and 3 that I didn't - another man killed his ex-girlfriend, her new boyfriend and himself just before we arrived.) So you are right, I am afraid. This is what life has become. I liked, though, that your mind wandered to all the good memories in life.