Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Solstice: Behind the Scenes

You may have thought that winter solstice was all about the tilt of the earth's axis and the length of the day, etc. You would be wrong. It is about depression.
Toward the end of the year, the sun sinks, sinks toward the horizon and spends more and more time by itself, sulking in front of the TV in its jammies, a glass of whiskey in its hand. Then it drags itself up every morning, groggy and hung over. Some mornings it doesn't even brush its teeth.
That's why we have those end-of-year rituals: Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's Eve. Office parties, gift buying and baking. Putting up trees indoors. It's to say: Come on, sun! Come out and have a bit of fun! You'll feel better, we promise! We have cookies! And listen to that determinedly cheerful music! Life couldn't be that bad, could it?
There ya go!
And we get the sun propped up. The fresh air and camaraderie do it good.
It forgets about its funk, then gets perkier and perkier until about the 20th of June, when, after a manic blitz of late nights and early rising (It's getting so much done! Having so much fun!), it starts to burn out. By November it is exhausted and overwhelmed, and so there we go again.