6.21.2006

solstice

Today, our summer solstice, I'm thinking about Peru, the Peruano friends we made, the ancient cultures we met. As in much of the world, it's winter solstice there, although so close to the equator, the hours of daylight and darkness don't vary very much. Even so, many Incan and pre-Incan tombs and monuments are oriented towards June 21.

I see that Solstice-watchers are allowed onto the Stonehenge site today. Stonehenge is an amazing place, but if you should ever go to Ireland, do visit Newgrange, a passage tomb complex older than Stonehenge, and older than the Egyptian pyramids. After creeping through a narrow, sunken passageway, we stood in the burial chamber, under a corbelled stone ceiling, and learned that on June 21, the sunrise would light up that dark passage and flood the interior space.

Ireland's Boyne Valley, a short drive north of Dublin, is full of neolithic tomb sites in various stages of excavation. But beware: like us, you may become fascinated with spirals.

Today is also National Aboriginal Day in Canada, a good excuse to appreciate the people who were really "here first". Another cool place to be today is Alaska, where you can play or watch midnight baseball, a tradition more than 100 years old.

I'm extremely happy and content to enjoy solstice in Port Credit. No ceremonies needed, just a glass of cold wine, a plastic lawn chair, and our green backyard.

1 comment:

James said...

If you ever get up to Bruce County and the Bruce Penninsula, be sure to visit Keppel Henge, put together by some amateur astronomers and gardeners up there. They also have a great 400-meter-long scale model of the solar system (with Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Sun, represented at scale distance in a garden in Vancouver).