For those of us who live north of the equator—for some, that may mean far north of that demarcation—today marks the winter solstice. The sun's official line-crossing will occur at 4:48 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, for those living on North America's eastern coast, or 1:48 p.m. for those of us on the other coast. After that, though they certainly won't get any warmer for quite a while, the days will at least begin to get longer.
Any sign of hope, no matter how small, is welcome in my book. In this month's fog-shrouded weather, I'm already looking forward to a bit more sunshine.
I sometimes wonder whether some activities and pastimes reach their zenith of popularity in these winter months. After all, when it is warm and sunny outdoors, we are outside doing, well, sunshiny things. In the winter? That's when humanity has had to invent other diversions.
Like genealogy? Could it be winter weather which inspires some of us to hunker down and ponder our family's mysteries? Or to pull out those old, time-honored recipes and re-enact the family traditions of making, baking, or otherwise cooking the same foods our ancestors once found so delicious?
For some, it's not just a matter of pulling out old recipes. Some of us are looking forward to celebrating winter holidays. Some are actually in the midst of commemorating Hanukkah. Others are using these last few days to prepare for Christmas. For those with Irish roots who have returned to their motherland during this darkest, most dismal time of year, perhaps today began with a journey to witness the solstice at Newgrange—if, of course, they were lucky enough to have won the right lottery number to gain that coveted position.
For this blogger, the next few days at A Family Tapestry will be used to wrap up the past year's research, and finish up some year-end genealogical cleaning. Since Christmas falls on a Sunday this year—the very day normally scheduled to complete my biweekly progress review—I'll be posting that report early, on this coming Friday.
Afterwards, it's time to celebrate the holidays. But not for long. In those quiet days between Christmas and Epiphany, I'll launch into planning for next year's research projects. That will be when I introduce my Twelve Most Wanted for 2023. And before we can notice whether the days are actually getting longer, I'll have some research projects to look forward to during the rest of this winter season—and throughout another year of family history exploration.
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