Winter Solstice

The holidays continue to keep everyone busy, though we’ve had a long string of gloomy rainy weather that had some spirits flagging. It’s bad enough that the daylight is so short, but when you add the heavy overcast it can be hard to take – day after day. Finally we got a little snow, and a tiny bit of brighter light to give us all hope for winter weather that we can go out and play in!

North Harbor and Petersburg Mountain

Even with all the rain and strong winds we had last week and now the colder temps, a crane barge and crew showed up to replace one of the old docks in the harbor. I can not imagine working in those conditions, holding onto big hunks of cold wet metal! But they worked hard until yesterday when they hung some lights from the crane and made a Christmas tree – so I guess they’re taking a break for the holiday.

Meanwhile, Santa took some time off from his preparations to visit the Recreation Center, arriving by helicopter! His reindeer are resting up for their big night, but the red flasher on the helicopter did a good imitation of Rudolph’s nose.

Santa has landed!

Jim has been very busy baking treats to bring to pot luck dinners as well as for gifts… spending hours in the galley and making the whole boat smell wonderful.

He’s also singing with the Oxford Carolers again this year. They performed at the Museum Open House last weekend, and they’re starting to get around town to entertain in more places.

Between all that baking and rehearsals, he’s been a busy guy! I’ve been knitting gifts and haven’t had much time to get outside for photography, though the weather hasn’t been good for it anyway. We had our usual horrid weather for the day of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count (citizen science!!), but I enjoy getting outside and working with friends to identify and count as many species as we can find.

The stores are all decorated and the streets have a very festive feeling with all the lights. We’re big on lights around here – to counteract the “dark days”

Each store puts a lot of effort into its window displays, and some stores change them every few weeks throughout the year. Men’s and Women’s “Night Out” give local stores a chance to inspire some shopping, and people around here do try to shop local as much as possible… though the daily load of Amazon boxes is hard to compete with.

Julebukking is in full swing now, named for the “buk” or “bock” – the mighty goats that pulled the Norse god Thor’s chariot. Petersburg has it’s own take on the Norwegian tradition, and various stores and organizations around town host an open house type of thing with food and drink. The newspaper and radio station publish the schedule of which day and hours each business will be hosting – this morning is the airport, and one of the banks will be open just for Julebukking on Sunday!

Julebukking at Lee’s Clothing store
Julebukking at the Sons of Norway hall

Christmas eve is the busiest day for Julebukking – stay tuned for more tales from the land of groaning tables full of treats, and Moose Milk! These little doggies got all dressed up, hoping someone would let them in on the Julebukking…

But yesterday was about more than just Julebukking. It was the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year. We never paid much attention to the Solstice when we lived farther south, but up here it’s a pretty big deal! The sun has been rising around 8:30 in the morning and setting around 3:15 in the afternoon. That’s when you can see it at all… when it’s not overcast and raining, and we don’t actually see the sun at those times because of the tall mountains all around. One never really gets over the urge to fix dinner at 4pm when it’s dark then. But the holidays help because of all the pretty lights and decorations. A lot of people put their holiday lights on in the mornings as well as the afternoons and evenings, and it’s appreciated by all.

Yesterday the sun peeked through the clouds just a little in the early afternoon – right at the moment of the Solstice. Everyone around town was happy – not just from the sugar rush of so many treats, but because now the days will begin to get longer again. The light is coming back! The weak sunlight kissed the boats in South Harbor, and the mountains were looking beautiful with their powdered-sugar dusting of snow… sublime.

2 thoughts on “Winter Solstice

  1. Happy Winter Solstice you two adventurous souls! We missed seeing you this year, still check your blog when we can, and love catching up with your latest fun. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years! We get about one more hour of light on each end than you do this time of year, but share your enthusiasm for the psychological, and real, lift that the Solstice bings: summer is on the way instead of waning!!! Hugs and love,Cathryn and Bob

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