It only lasts a second . . . the tilt of the earth's axis being the furthest away from the sun. Thus we live through the shortest day of the year and wake to a bit more sunlight each day thereafter. The light will grow longer throwing her warm golden rays across fields, mountains and distant shores . . . minutes more added day by day, as we spin towards spring. According to a government site, the Winter Solstice 2009 begins today at 12:47 PM EST.
Cultures around the world celebrate the return of light through traditional rituals, but not all on the same date. Some in Japan celebrate the reemergence of their Shinto Sun goddess Amaterasu, from her dark cave. In Sweden, Finland and Norway there are those that honor Beiwe (meaning day) the sun goddess of sanity and fertility. In Wiltshire, England there are celebrations at Stonehenge. Here in United States Native Americans had built great numbers of stone structures to determine the solstices and equinoxes. Sacrifices and feasts were held the world over to mark the renewal of light. However you might celebrate . . . I wish you a Happy Winter Solstice!!
My offering of images are from last year about this time. The 110th Christmas Bird Count is under way. I will be featuring, over the next several posts, seasons of bird portraits from Flower Hill Farm, in honor of this great feat across the country. Today we have Wild Turkeys and a Robin enjoying the crabapples just outside the barn studio. The tiny apples help many birds make it through the winter months.