Soul-Searching the Solstice


If you live in the northern hemisphere, today is the shortest day of the year.  We should test the aphorism that less is more.  In an unscientific survey among friends and colleagues who were asked if they slept more because of longer nights, most responded no.  A number would have liked more sleep and some self-admitted insomniacs said they were always tired–their daily mantra.  

Humans have conquered the seasons.  There is heat to counter the cold and air conditioning when it’s hot.  Electric lights extend the day and window shades lengthen the night.  While we are still at the mercy of severe weather, we are masters of our immediate environment.  We have even altered our circadian clock, that little part of our brain that tracks solar time.  

Observe the animals outside your window.  Whether chipmunks, birds, squirrels, deer or bear, their daily rhythms, since the beginning of life itself, are dependent on the rising and setting sun.  Humans, with their technology, have circumvented nature. 

Nevertheless, the astronomical movements of our solar system keep us on course.  In a world of uncertainty, of trauma and treason, of laughter and silliness, life’s unpredictability vanishes in the constancy of sunlight.