Friday, December 21, 2007

Solstice Henge

Today is the Winter Solstice. A day shrouded in mystery and heralded throughout the centuries for its sacredness. On this important day I would like to take the opportunity to shine a light…on my brother-in-law’s dishwasher.


He sent me this photo. Dish Henge, he calls it. Here is what he wrote with the photo: “Once a year, the sun shines through our laundry room window at just the right angle to completely illuminate our dishwasher (~16' away), and only our dishwasher. Dish Henge occurred this year on Sunday, Dec 16th, 3:30pm MST.”

My husband and I couldn’t stop laughing when we saw the photo. How strange! How silly!

Of course, I have to wonder, Is it a sign? I ruminate on what it could mean. Something like: Clean house! Or Illuminate your flatware! Certainly the same gods who were responsible for Stone Henge couldn’t have in mind anything as pedestrian as, “Run the dishwasher!” Or perhaps all those Druids got it wrong. Maybe their efforts to move all those rocks to create that calendar had been the result of a complete cosmic misunderstanding, the sun gods merely trying to tell them to take out the garbage or invent the trash-compactor.

A similar phenomenon occurs at our house in the spring and fall. Light-Henge. For several days, the sunlight catches our hall light in just the right way that it casts rainbows all around the first floor. Whenever this happens, I think it’s a good sign. My boys agree and always come running to get me when the lamp is “doing the rainbow thing.” We imagine out loud what good fortune it imparts: I’m finally going to get a ferret! I’m finally going to get my Spider Amp! Someone else might finally clean up the kitchen!

I think the Universe, God, whatever you prefer to call your divine entity, if you choose to believe in one, gives us all little signs every day. Signs that things are going to get better—or worse. Signs that give us little hints of what they have in mind, like the time right before I got pregnant with my twins when I cracked open an egg with two yolks.

My husband says the only sign Dish-Henge and Lamp-Henge impart is that the sun has reached the same degree of declination on it path along the ecliptic as it has in every year in the past history of the earth and sun and all the rest of us are just a bunch of Froot Loops for thinking otherwise.

He’s always been the romantic one.

I like to think these signs are maybe just a little bit more. Maybe they are a communication with a higher spirit and I think on this day, this Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, the day with the most hours of darkness, we should take some time to think of what it all means. The Winter Solstice has indicated rebirth throughout the ages. It symbolizes a moment when hope springs eternal. A time, steeped in ritual, of the victory of light over darkness.

We should take advantage of this time, this opportunity. We should perhaps see these strange light phenomena as a way for us city folk to reconnect with the ancient. We should think of this day as a new beginning, and take a moment to look inward. To shine a light where one is not usually shone, to explore our hearts, our souls or maybe, well, more probably, just the interior of our appliances.

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