A Winter Solstice in the Summer Posted on December 21st, 2009 by

Today is the first day of winter at home, and though those seasons don’t apply down here, it is still hard to think that it is mid-December.   The countless inconstancies with the current season have me wondering what time of year it really is.  When you’ve lost your time-markers, time seems to stand still. In fact, I haven’t even registered fall yet.  I missed the state fair for the first time in years, Halloween slipped by without even a tootsie roll, and Thanksgiving was relegated to chicken soup (though it was good).

The days here are as long as ever – the sun always sets at the same time and in the same place.  It’s nice to be able to wake up with the sun and walk home before dark, but it is amazing how much constant-length days distort one’s sense of time. 

It doesn’t help that the landscape is an emerald Minnesota only experiences in the spring.  There are roses outside our front door and flowers are blooming everywhere, though the poinsettias in our front yard are on the decline.  Much to my delight, there are even dandelions blooming in our backyard.

Furthermore, there isn’t a trace of snow anywhere except up on the mountain.  Actually, I’m sitting around in shorts and a t-shirt.  We’ve been here over three months and its pretty much still looks the same (if anything, it’s greener, which just confuses my mind more).  Now we are on the verge of Christmas and I highly doubt that it will be a white one. 

No snow is just the beginning of the lack of holiday decorations.  The only Christmas tree I’ve seen was a four foot plastic tree slung over the shoulder of a sidewalk pedestrian.  There are no inflatable Santa Clauses, window decals, and worst of all, no Christmas lights.  Our festivity has only extended to the paper snowflakes in our living room. 

Though summer in the winter is confusing, I can’t say it isn’t appreciated.  I have no remorse for not having to bundle in so many layers that you are forced to waddle like a penguin, or shovel wet, heavy snow, or loose sensation in your ears and toes trekking to and from class.  Though I can’t go sledding and I miss Christmas lights, I could get used to long, sunny days.



  1. Robert Shoemaker says:

    Winter break has finally gotten here and St. Peter is in midst of a three day snow storm. Snow totals for day 2 of 3 are somewhere near 8 inches with more on the way. This is by far the snowiest Christmas that I can recall and the Twin Cities set a modern day record for the snowiest Christmas Eve with some 6 inches of snow.

    Traffic has slowed down to a crawl and many family holiday plans have been scrapped or delayed until the front passes and the wind drops. It’s been really fun staying home with the cars in the garage and walking everywhere. We have a rough estimate of some 15 inches on the ground and cross country skiing is on the schedule for today and tomorrow.

  2. Mara Johnson-Groh says:

    Sure, the one year I’m not there it actually snows enough to go skiing and sledding and enjoy winter…