Winter Connection #1 – Solstice and Snow

The day dawns. How do you feel?

Today, on December 21, 2012 – I feel a new beginning. It doesn’t have anything to do with the end of the Mayan calendar, or what will – or will not – happen at some point today when the planets come into alignment. I’ve read the theories. I glory in the rise of the sun and the turn of the earth, and whatever the day brings.

Winter Solstice. Solstice means “to stand still.” On this winter solstice, and for a few days after, the sun appears not to move, rising at the same point on the horizon for several days in a row, or “standing still.” Then the arc of the sun will begin to move northward again – toward longer days – as we head toward spring.

Today, at 11:12 UTC, the Sun passes directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, its southernmost latitude. It is the shortest day of the year, and the beginning of the ‘winter season.’

Winter fact: The continental United States is affected by an average of 105 snow-producing storms annually, and nearly all locations have seen snowfall. During snow season, the average amount of snowfall per day, nationwide, is two inches.

Snow reflects up to 95 percent of the sunlight or moonlight that shines on it, whereas the Sun’s reflectivity on open water is only 10 to 15 percent.

Fresh fluffy snow absorbs sound waves, creating an eerie winter silence. When snow hardens, however, it actually reflects sound waves, making the sounds of a nibbling hare or a creaking tree even clearer to the ear.

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