December 21st marks the winter solstice here in the northern hemisphere. What is the winter solstice? This is the exact moment during the year when the hemisphere of the earth is tilted the farthest from the sun. In 2020, this will happen on December 21st at 5:02am EST. This also marks the day with the fewest hours of daylight during the year. Each day we get a bit more sunlight all the way until the Summer Solstice in June!
On the Winter Solstice, the sun's position in the sky will be as far south at it will go. If you live in an area with a wide open sky, you can observe the sun's path from south back towards the north. Each day from now until the Summer Solstice, the sun will slowly track further north in our sky. Living with tall mountains to our west, we love to watch the change in the position of the sun as it moves along the mountain range over the course of the year.
Interestingly, the Winter Solstice is the first day of winter on the astronomical calendar. On this calendar, the seasons change at the Winter Solstice, Vernal (Spring) Equinox, Summer Solstice, and Autumnal (Fall) Equinox. There is another calendar in the weather world, the meteorological calendar, has winter starting on December 1st and lasting until the final day of February. This calendar is based on temperature trends and shifts in the climate.
If you enjoy folklore such as "red sky at night, sailors delight", here are some winter phrases for you to slip into casual conversation at your next Zoom gathering:
Deep snow in winter; tall grain in summer. —Estonian proverb
Visits should be short, like a winter’s day.
A fair day in winter is the mother of a storm. —English proverb
Summer comes with a bound; winter comes yawning.
Onion skins very thin, mild winter coming in.
Are you a fan of the shorter days and colder temperatures or just counting down the days until spring? Try to enjoy this weather induced down-time - busy spring and summer days will be here before you know it, now is the time to cozy up and enjoy the magic of the winter season.
Stay Wild and Free,