Today – at 428pm precisely is the Winter Solstice. This is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere – last night was the longest night so we can officially celebrate the night’s getting shorter again.
Why does this matter though, in this era of instant communication and perpetual electric light?
It matters because despite all the trappings of modern civilisation, we are still animals; and as with all other animals, we are part of nature.
We are animals, just like chickens are. And I for one am looking forward to the day, which is coming soon, when our small flock of chickens start laying again. Their eggs are like no other ones I have ever tasted – because they live relatively natural lives and eat a lot of wild food. These chickens start laying again because the days are getting longer and they react to that change. We also react to changes in day length, thanks to the activity of cells in our brains which constantly measure the amount of day light we experience.
So while it may seem like the depths of mid-winter (though it’s a rather warm and damp day here in Dorset), the season is turning and Spring is coming.