Peace, joy and good thoughts to all, this special season...
But, first of all, I have to ask...
Did you feel it? You know, the "tilt"? It occurred yesterday, December 21st, around 3:38 pm in our part of the world. In a single moment of time, we in the Northern Hemisphere, found ourselves tilted some 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Yikes, I had to hang on! (Just be glad we don't live on Venus, it has an axial tilt of about 177 degrees - you'd think that folks up there must have to wear seat belts 24/7! That, however, is not the case. With respect to the earth, Venus is "upside down" and the tilt any "Venetians" would experience is actually only 3 degrees - 180 minus 177. No, you're right, I didn't figure that little piece of geometry out for myself.) :-)
Anyway, at the exact moment of the 2010 winter solstice, I was in the middle of final preparations for our annual "Longest Night" service, an occasion that is, for me, a deeply meaningful spiritual practice and an important preface to the celebration of Christmas. It's a reminder that we always have hope, even in what may seem like the darkest of nights.
The winter solstice, in the journey of our planet around the sun, marks a turning point. Yesterday was the shortest day of the year, but already today, the days are lengthening. By Christmas, just a few days from now, we'll enjoy two more minutes of daylight! (Note that I said, daylight, not necessarily sunlight - this is, after all, "Canada's Pacific island"...in December.)
The winter solstice may also establish a turning point in many other ways. It marks the transition to the season of winter. (By the way, did you know that the folks on Venus have no seasons, it's a toasty 462 degrees C everywhere...all the time. Talk about "endless summers" on the beach - ouch, that's hot sand!)
(That "tilt" makes you think about performing a kayak brace!)
Back here on our planet, the winter solstice also means that we are now just days away from the celebration of Christmas or Hanukkah, or perhaps, simply a well deserved break for some holidays. For many, of course, it means line ups at crowded and noisy stores. OK, so I suppose some folks might actually enjoy that part! Hmmm...not here, way too stressful an activity!
We may also anticipate the New Year coming and even prepare to make some "resolutions". I always do. January 1st just seems like a good "starting point" for fresh initiatives and renewed resolve. It's a good time to establish "bench marks". For me, in the year to come, there will be changes in the way I do certain things. I like to think of that as "growing". I'm also determined to paddle more, run more, worry less, simplify more, and just "be", more often. I've seen this good example set by others and they serve as a model for what it is to truly live with an appreciation for life - and in so doing, they enrich the lives of others around them.
Certainly at this time of the year, when it is customary to exchange cards, notes, and greetings, we're reminded that our connection to one another is so very important. Maintaining those connections, however, seems to be increasingly difficult for many. The choices we sometimes make, in what some describe as this "the Age of Distraction", deplete our time and energies. I think we may well discover that much of what demands and receives our attention these days will one day be seen as, perhaps, not so important or as pressing as we had once thought. Time is probably better spent on nurturing relationships - we'll always need those to sustain us.
In ways that I had never imagined, my "virtual" friends, who visit here from around the world have, have given value and meaning to this pleasurable exercise of maintaining a blog (an exercise that has, I must admit, felt a little self-indulgent at times). It's great to share with you our mutual passion for kayaking or running or just being "outside" in this wondrous creation.
I'm not sure where this blog will go in the future or whether it will "morph" into something quite different, but now is the time that our regular postings to "OCEANPAX paddle /run" must take a break. The coming days will be very full, require focus, and there are many and varied expectations to meet. But hey, the days are getting longer, right? ;-)
So, we have traversed, as a planet through the solstice and for those in the northern hemisphere, our days are lengthening. For those of you in the southern hemisphere, your days are getting shorter so have a great summer...and save some for us!
Until whenever we meet again, thanks for being part of this evolving project known as "OCEANPAX paddle /run", it's good to know you're there. May we wish you peace, joy, and happiness this Christmas and holiday season.