Posts Tagged ‘winter solstice’

What better way to celebrate the longest night than by a bike ride round Hagley Park in the dark?  Congratulations to the people who organised the sixth annual Winter Solstice Night Light Bike Ride.  It’s the first time I’ve ridden at night, and the first time I’ve ridden in the rain (though luckily the rain stopped before the official ride started).  A friend and I braved the rush hour traffic to get to Hagley Park where we joined a crowd of several hundred.  I seemed to be the only one with a pink hi-vis vest.

Ruth on bike (Small)

Bicycles were lit up in all kinds of ways and looked great.

Another glowing bicycle (Small)

Glowing bicycle (Small)

Well-lit bicycle (Small)

Before we started prizes were handed out, and I got one for being a new cyclist.  I did wonder whether I may also have been one of the oldest cyclists there.  There were lots of youngsters with small bikes, or pillion seats.

We’d been told to cycle in single file, but started off two and three abreast, in a congested group.  This meant I needed to ride very slowly, which made me wobble.   Round the edge of the park there was some light, but it was extremely dark when we headed through the middle – no street lights there!  My new bike headlight is not full beam, and I was glad to follow the tail light of the person in front of me.  By then we were well spread out and riding was smoother.  There were marshalls at strategic points to say “sharp right here”.  In one spot I lost the path, got caught in a wooden edging, and ignominiously fell off.  Luckily it was a gentle fall and no harm done.

This ride was lots of fun, and a great way to mark the Solstice.  I hope to do it again next year.

From now on the light increases!

“What fun to ride around the park
with bikes all lit up in the dark.”

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Today we celebrated the Winter Solstice, the time when the sun is furthest away.  This time marks the beginning of a new year, signalled by the appearance in the sky of Matariki. the Pleiades.

Winter Solstice altar

Winter Solstice altar

The Solstice is the time to discard old ways and welcome the new into our lives.  I look forward to new experiences and inspiration.

“The longest night and shortest day
is when we contemplate our way.”

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Winter Solstice, which will occur early tomorrow morning, is the ‘dead’ of winter.  The hiatus when the sun reaches its furthest point, then light slowly starts to increase, and life slowly starts to return to the earth.  The coldest time is yet to come, and when it’s here increasing light reminds us that summer too will come.

This is time for seasonal rose pruning – leaving plants bare to prepare for summer growth.  Autumn leaves have been raked away to become compost and mulch ( or in the case of my walnut tree, stowed in the green Council bin to be dealt with elsewhere).  There’s a sense of preparation, of waiting.  What will spring bring?  For me, there’s the expectation of a visit from a distant daughter.  What hopes are you nurturing for spring?

“Sun standing still provides the reason
to celebrate our Solstice season.”

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