Monday, December 20, 2004

The Winter Solstice

The winter solstice occurs tomorrow at 4:42 a.m. It marks the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and, logically, the longest night--the time when the sun seems farthest away from us. You often hear that various solstice celebrations are rooted in some deep fear that, if we don't coax the sun back, it will leave us forever. This may be true, but it bugs me, because it assumes our ancestors were morons. I mean, of course, there were morons then as there are now, and I would feel safe in saying that some fundamentalist segment of the population believed that the sun might leave us. Maybe they even stocked up on supplies in case this solstice really were the one that resulted in the end of the world. But I also think that our ancestors, like us, were capable of aesthetic thought--poetic thought. And that they understood the perceived distance of the sun to be a metaphor more broadly applicable. So, I don't think it's any coincidence that holidays that have sprung up around the solstice have to do with parties and gift-giving and the renewal of friendships. Just as the sun seems to move farther away until coaxed back with parties and gifts, so too do friendships and kinships ebb and flow. We coax the sun back in order to coax each other back, to renew old friendships and reestablish longtime bonds. This solstice especially resonates for me because, right now, with the exception of the Butcher, everyone I care about is out of town. Many of them--Miss J and her lover, the Divine Ms. B, my recalcitrant brother, my parents--are on the verge of arriving. And others will be back right after the new year. But right now, I'm as far away from all the people I care about as I'm likely to be this year. And so, I'm thinking about the earth circling the sun--or as my ancestors understood it, the sun circling the earth--moving away, moving closer, tilting towards each other, leaning away, and it reminds me of you--all you all, and how lucky I am to know you. As The Old Man says: If you have a good friend, who you trust completely Then go see him often. For brambles grow and waving grass On the rarely traveled road. Go find a good man to hold in friendship And listen carefully to his healing words. I don't get to see you as often as I'd like and I miss you guys. I hope you all have a happy holiday season.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, you gotta stop writing these things that get me all emotional. :) You know we're lucky to know you too, and you are welcome at the midwest encampment anytime. Strange people on the internet: this does not mean you.

I didn't know the old man was so eloquent.

Have good holidays and fun with all your people - SuperGenius

12/20/2004 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Well, one doesn't have as many kids by as many different women as The Old Man does without knowing a thing or two about seduction, and clearly, as Lord Byron can attest, we're suckers for poetry.

12/20/2004 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

Does it help at all to know that while I was out beginning (and almost completeing) my Christmas shopping today, during these few hours of light available, that I had some fond memories of some good times we shared at your house. I may even be returning with a gift to help renew our friendship.

12/21/2004 05:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, Professor, nothing says friendship like a mini toilet plunger. Especially when it can be attached to the table at the bar and used as a stick shift for the table. I'm sure Aunt B would love to have one.

I've ordered the barn burner at happy joe's - The SuperGenius

12/22/2004 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

I thought Happy Joe's only served pizza and ice cream. I've never encountered this "plunger on table" phenomenon. Are you sure this wasn't just some law school prank?

12/22/2004 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger the Professor said...

The plunger is from birthday celebrations at Humphrey's. The Dog Yeller aka the Political Cookie Baker can tell you other interesting uses for a mini plunger. Oh wait, no she can't. I can tell you what she did, but she can't remember.

I have other good ideas for Aunt B. I think the mini plunger might make for a better gift for the Butcher. He could come up with some fantastic ideas. I fear Aunt B's would all be dirty in a slightly creepy way that would turn me on too much to handle.

12/22/2004 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Oh, you all flatter me. I'm certain I could put the plunger to good use, but very embarassed by the notion that others would watch and find it very creepy and arousing.

Well, if one has to have a sexual reputation, I'd rather have "creepy and arousing" than "unimaginative and boring."

12/22/2004 12:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aunt B, maybe you could change the slogan for Tiny Cat Pants to creepy and arousing. :)

I seem to remember a chair that threw itself down the stairs on the night of Happy Joe's and plungers at Humphrey's. Course, this is the same place that I remember ordering a pitcher of Alabama Slammers so I could be wrong about the whole chair thing.

But today I'm just high on life (and dayquil) - SuperGenius

12/22/2004 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

I just want to point out--before we settle on this "creepy and arousing" label, that I'm not the one who suggested I strap myself to her brother and fall out of an airplane and pee on him.

So, maybe the Professor deserves the "creepy and arousing" moniker more than me.

12/22/2004 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

Okay, I'll admit to causing that chair to fly down the stairs. I'll admit to drinking half a pitcher of Alabama Slammers (that's easy, I've done many worse things, often). I'll admit to encouraging others to do strange things with their plungers (I was quite calm and cool with mine). I'll even admit to encouraging Aunt B to strap herself to someone (maybe even my brother) and jump out of an airplane. However, I never said anything about peeing on anyone else - not one of my creepy fetishes. So, I'll take the arousing part of the label, but I'm returning the creepy part.

12/22/2004 07:41:00 PM  

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