We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
What a seemingly-simple poem it is. A prayer, really. The sly Robert Frost claimed he wrote it in one minute, but anything that simple usually takes a long time to get right.
Winter solstice, the longest night of the year in these here parts. Julius Caesar placed it on December 25 (for the convenience of Santa and his reindeer, of course), but it's more accurately placed today. Sad to say, the US climate has been getting colder in recent years. Call it "climate change" and spend a lot of time worrying about it (remember - not using plastic grocery bags will make a really, realy big difference in making it colderwarmer whatever).
It's not mid-winter for a month or so, but just the beginning of what we hope will be another invigoratingly chilly and snowy one:
According to Cecil Adams of the Straight Dope, the solstice as the "official" first day of winter is a recent concept. The summer solstice is Midsummer's Night in Shakespeare's play, which would make the winter solstice Midwinter's Night, I suppose.
Winter begins with the onset of consistently cold weather and that varies by location. The coldest days in Tucson would be considered autumnal here in Billings. Our coldest days would be autumnal to Yellowknife.
The solstice is linked to the coldest or warmest days, but only sort-of. Most Northern Hemisphere areas have their coldest weather in January and February and their warmest in July and August.
But I guess the solstices and the equinoces are likely to remain the "official" season dates. Except they really aren't offical at all.
Just to further the pedantry - Julius Caesar picked what is now December 13th as the date for the Solstice. When the Gregorian Calendar was introduced in the 16th Century, December 25th, which had always been Chrismas Day moved nearer the Solstice. The meme that Christmas is merely a disguised Solstice festival is unsound.
I wrote this in about an hour back in 1995, though I had been thinking about it for a few weeks.
By a twist and a tilt
We go round the bend,
That some call beginning
And some call the end.
And some call the middle,
Whether going in or out.
By fact and by figure
There can be no doubt.
We have measured to the nth
And so we have found
That now is the place
Where the earth goes around
A calendar face, a shadow on ground.
Marking an 'x' by this common connection,
Feel the rumble and turn,
Worry one side might freeze
While the other might burn.
Yet we turn to perfection,
Though we mark it or not.
And bend round the bend
To a sunnier spot.