it happened at 9:08 pm today. the sun came back. or at least the promise of the sun seemed real. today is Winter Solstice, a day more celebrated in the north than perhaps even Christmas (despite our proximity to North Pole, AK). on solstice we get the best present of the year - it comes first in the form of 3 seconds, then 1 minute, then up to a whopping 7 minutes a day of additional sun.
it's Dec. 21, which means about 2.5 hours of daylight that is really more like dawn. we organize our days to spend time outside during those hours, whatever skin might be exposed in these temperatures trying to collect the weak rays. and tomorrow, i will get to do it for 3 seconds longer.
Fairbanksans gather to welcome the sun back and we do it in our usual way - with food and music. this evening, i found myself at Lynne and Charley's solstice potluck with a a large handful of other folks grateful that we'd just passed the darkest day of the year. we gathered around a piano player, a flutist, 2 mandolin players, and a guitarist singing every sun or light song somebody knew the words to: here comes the sun, i saw the light, this little light of mine, you are my sunshine. we dug deep and pulled out House of the Rising Sun. and we sang the sun back into our world, pushing out the perimeter of darkness a little more with each soaring note.
as i walked back to my car, empty quiche plate in hand, i hummed in the pitch black.
little darling, it's been a long and lonely winter
little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and i say, it's alright........
happy solstice to all and may the sun forever shine in your heart.
taken in the village of Nulato on the Yukon River on Dec. 19 at 1:00 pm