Friday, December 21, 2012

Still Here

The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky

My son was born in 1999 a couple of months before Y2K. I remember waking up early to watch the first sunrise of the new millennia break over the Atlantic ocean with him in my arms. In his first thirteen years of life, he has experienced a 1/1/1, 2/2/2, 3/3/3...all the way up to today’s momentous day on the calendar. I never brought up the Mayans to him. I didn’t have to. Between the movie 2012, the Internet and that reality show, Doomsday Preppers, he is well versed in fear. He was born into it. This week, my 13-year old son, who is supposed to feel invincible at this age, urged me to stock up at the store as if we were expecting a hurricane. While baking Christmas cookies for his teachers, he disappeared into the garage, to take an inventory of things we could use if the worst happened.

The sun is rising again as I write this.  Some people are relieved. Others are grateful. Facebook is full of  silly comments like Ha-Ha I’m still here. Take that, Mayans. What if we all could capture that urgent sense of an imminent end as a way to cherish each day as a new beginning? Isn’t that what today is? A new dawn.  Another chance. A fresh start. Think about all the worlds that came to an end in Connecticut last week. Not just for those who lost their lives, but for the families who are left to endure. Maybe all the people who experienced an end to life as they know it through car accidents, divorce or job loss. Is not experiencing a life altering ending enough reason to count your blessings? Can we get to a point in time on this new calendar when our children view change as inevitable? Perhaps a place, where my son isn’t focused on endings because he is looking forward to the possibility and promise of tomorrow. 

Have you asked yourself why your still here?

For today’s Sky’s the Limit (on what you can learn), I wanted to know more about the Winter Solstice.  Did you know Stonehenge in England is aligned with a sight line pointing to the Winter Solstice sunset? There is a less famous, but similar structure in Ireland that aligns with the winter solstice sunrise. 

A cold front blew in for dramatic effect here in Florida to mark the first day of Winter. So what exactly is the winter solstice? It is when the sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude in your hemisphere, making it the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The solstice itself is just a moment in time, not even the whole day.  Mid winter rituals and celebrations that have come from the Winter Solstice range from Christmas (the birth of the son of God) to Beiwe (the coming of the Sun Goddess) to Brumalia, Chamos, Deygon, Dongzhi, Goru, Hogmanay, Hannukah and 22 other celebrations that are honored this next week. Many traditions involve feasts because it was the last slaughter of fresh meat and fresh grains  before the long cold winter sat in.

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