Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Staff Contacts | Home RSS
 
 
 

Solstice

June 28, 2019
By JOYCE COMINGORE - Garden Club of Cape Coral (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

These are the times that try this sentimental woman's soul. My roots fill my awareness. Birthdates fill my thoughts. My father's birthday was June 21 and my mother's birthday, June 28. My soul is filled with celebratory feelings of yore. My father's and my birthday were 6 months apart. Mine was the shortest day, longest nights of the year and his is the longest day and shortest night of the year, which about sums up solstice.

Growing up, this was in my humorous thoughts. As an adult, I realize these are dates ancient ancestors knew as solstice; it happens twice a year, summer or winter. I may have a touch of Irish in me, but I am not a Druid or a pagan, so this fact was not in my forethoughts. Although the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge has fascinated me as well as others, I do have an English background that makes me aware of everything British. Stonehenge is in southern England, 8 miles north of Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. It was built in six stages between 3000 and 1520 B.C. just before the Bronze Age.

The enigma of a huge bunch of rocks placed strategically in a circle, near a cemetery, makes one wonder about the purpose of their alignment. Traced to the positioning of the sunlight hitting the exact center of the circle on solstice day, their purpose is thought provoking. The construction of these 4,500 years old standing stones, over 27 feet tall with some as equally large placed horizontally on top, each weighing an average of 25 tons, leaves one wondering about the abilities of our historic ancestors, a time before the wheel and pulley systems, and the purposes of this construction. The most popular theory is they were slowly rolled there on a track of logs. Lifting them is a deed to wonder about.

Cremated human remains have been found leading to speculation that this was a site of ritual significance.

The site is a massive 6,500 acres,71/2 times bigger than New York Central Park. Last year Stonehenge celebrated 100 years of public ownership. Landowner Cecil Chubb gave it to the British nation in October 1918, allowing it to then be maintained after he let it fall into disrepair. The 20th century brought renewed interest in Stonehenge's significance as a religious center. Stonehenge was closed in1984 after rioting broke out between police and revelers, and reopened in 2000.

Gathering at Stonehenge on summer solstice is an age-old tradition. This year some 10,00 celebrants gathered to observe this phenomenon, this changing of the seasons and the cyclical nature of growth, death and rebirth. This pagan past draws people, still today. It was said, they held their arms aloft, reverently holding their 21st century totem aloft, their cellphone. The mix was of druid, pagan, the countercultural and the curious chanting, drumming and awestruck. Visitors are allowed access to the full site, even the inner circle. Climbing or standing on the stones is forbidden. English Heritage runs the site and encourages visitors to come by public transport to cut the traffic, parking issues and reduce emissions. Good vibes prevailed.

The first day of summer arrived this year with the solstice, June 21, 2019, in the northern hemisphere.

Our ancient ancestors had no calendar or way of telling time; they relied on the sun for their crops' needs, it determined the seasons. They divided the year into four seasons: spring equinox, summer solstice, vernal equinox and vernal solstice. Equinox means equal day and night; solstice refers to the sun seeming to reverse directions. Because our planet follows an elliptical course around the sun, one end tipped away or close to the sun, it affects our daylight. Whichever end is closest to the sun determines our daylight, or lack of, and this cannot be determined to happen on the same day each year. Our equator determines how our earth receives the sun and seasons. Our hemisphere determines our seasons.

Summer season can be summoned up by writers:

George Elliot wrote about summer in Middlemarch, "The days were longer then (for time like money, is measured by our needs), when summer afternoons were spacious, and the clock ticked slowly in the winter evenings." Jenny Han wrote in "The Summer I Turned Pretty, "Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August." E.B. White wrote, "Early summer days are a jubilee time for birds. In the fields, around the house, in the barn, in the woods, in the swamp -- everywhere love and songs and nests and eggs." Harper Lee in "To Kill a Mockingbird wrote, "Summer was our best season: It was sleeping on the back porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape' but most of all, summer was Dill." And Charles Bowden wrote, "Summertime is always the best of what might be."

Tuesday, July 2, brings us the first total solar eclipse of the sun since the summer of 2017, when the moon blocks out the sun. Looking directly into the sun is not recommended for your eyesight, so find a webcast and watch it there. This will happen when the sun, moon and earth are in direct alignment. Mostly visible in South America not here, but by webcast, it will begin at 4:39 p.m. with maximum eclipse at 5:43 p.m., ending at 5:46 p.m. For best visibility, catch a boat to the Pacific Ocean to watch it visibly for the longest time. It will last 4 minutes and 33 seconds. Solar eclipses have dazzled civilization for years.

Unfortunately, sitting under a tree won't help, but thank a tree for all it does do for us.

Joyce Comingore is a Master Gardener, hibiscus enthusiast and member of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.

 
 
 

 

I am looking for:
in:
News, Blogs & Events Web