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Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice. Today is the shortest day of the year. From now on there will be increasing light and we will see more of the sun. Since Neolithic times the winter solstice has been a special moment in the annual cycle of the year and many cultures have celebrated the winter solstice. Since the event signifies the reversal of the sun's waning presence it is often tied to the concept of rebirth.

A little while ago we were standing in our sunny but snowy driveway and heard the trrrrrrrrrrr rapid drumming noise of a Hairy Woodpecker. Rapid drumming (as opposed to the slow tap-tap of feeding) is a type of communication in woodpeckers used in territory formation and courtship. Increasing light levels stimulate the hormone productions in birds that lead to reproductive behavior. So this Hairy Woodpecker may have been experiencing a solstice moment and feeling a renewal of hormones. It sure gave us a feeling of renewal to experience a sound we associate with spring and bird's breeding behavior.

Wherever you are today and whether you celebrate solstice or not, take a moment to reflect on the sun and its important role as the energy source of the life on earth.

Photos © Lillian Stokes, 2007

1 comment:

Abby said...

Yay! I'm very happy we've been getting lots of snow this year in MA, but i'm already looking forward to spring.