The winter solstice happens tonight at 10:48 PM (Misery time). At that precise moment in the Earth’s axial wobble, the northern hemisphere is tilted its farthest from the sun. It is the longest night of the year, so the good news is at least the days will begin to get longer as the wobble reverses direction. The bad news is this marks the beginning of winter.
It’s important to look on the “bright” side during this darkest part of the year. It’s officially winter, but at least the forecast for the first week or so in Misery looks pretty good. Highs in the 50s and lows mostly above freezing. Even though I have to work on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it looks like I will be riding the scoot to and from.
The mild weather has me remembering my paternal grandmother. She was very superstitious, and always on the lookout for bad omens and signs to protect us kids from. She believed in things like carrying a buckeye for good luck, and never taking a photo with a dog, because either the person or the dog in the photo would die soon after. With her dark eyes and hair and skin, she had the look of the Cherokee that runs in our family, and a way of telling a story that made you believe in the magic. Or at least want to. When I was very young, I believed those things right along with her, simply because she told me they were true.
But by the time I reached my teens, with a head full of science and a smart mouth, I had no time for magic and mysticism. I made fun of her “old wives tales” and poked holes in her logic. She laughed right along with me (she had a great laugh), and pointed out that she had been married and divorced twice, and therefore she was an old wife. I was her first grandchild, and she spoiled me rotten, always exclaiming about how smart I was. She was uneducated, but intelligent. She understood the things I told her, but she never stopped believing in the magic. (And I have carried the same old buckeye in every truck I have owned for the last thirty-some years.)
One of Grandma’s old sayings was “Onion skins thin, mild winter coming in.” I don’t peel enough onions to be able to make a comparison, but I bet she would say the skins are looking thin this year. I wish she were around so I could tease her and ask if the rule applied in today’s global marketplace, where the onion she peeled likely came from somewhere like Peru or Chile, in the hemisphere where tomorrow is the first day of summer.