Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. I grew up in more southern latitudes so this day was not a big deal, but now that I have spent over 30 years at 48 degrees N in a morbidly rainy climate, the approach of the Solstice makes me feel like a Druid. Light up the bonfire! Break out the mulled wine! Dance under the mistletoe! Although it is dim at noon and pitch black at 4, the Sun God will return! It can only get brighter from now on.
For a long time I was convinced that William Shakespeare must be from Seattle, otherwise, how could he have been inspired to write the meteorologically accurate “Now is the winter of our discontent”. But just as the gloomiest day of the year is actually cause for celebration, I find that the full quote in Richard III is actually positive:
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
And a final reason to celebrate the gloom. The gloom today is from heavy, cold rain — so heavy that the weather reports 1.10 inches in the last 24 hours. This is a good thing, Laura?? Yes, it means snow in the mountains. Last season’s snowfall was 20 percent of normal, leading to droughts and wildfires, so we are grateful for a return to…normal, whatever “normal” is now in these climate changing times. Laura has even already tried out her much-neglected snowshoes. Bring on the gloom, bring on the snow. Now is the winter of our discontent made snowy.
Internet extra! To see Sir Laurence Olivier deliver a truly over-the-top curtain-chewing performance of Shakespeare’s monologue, click here.