Yesterday was the solstice, shortest day of the year, and the traditional time for ceremonies designed to coax the sun into coming back. El put a candle in the stone alcove over our fireplace a few weeks ago, and last night Ian lit it, as peasants have done the world over. Now, none of us are especially pagan, nor do we make a habit of this sort of thing. It probably was mostly something of a lark. However, it has been so damn cold lately that I must admit that I was happy to give the sun every possible encouragement to get back to its job of warming us up, thank you kindly. Just call me a peasant.
I also, oddly enough, read a very pertinent book yesterday. Kevin had been telling me about this guy, Fred Hoyle, who is an astronomer by trade but also wrote these science fiction books on the side, including the one Kev loaned me yesterday, The Black Cloud. This is an *excellent* book. Written in the 1950's, it had enough subtle racism and sexism for me to be vaguely uncomfortable at points...but I suppose that was to be expected. More importantly, it's a sf book in the old style -- lots of hard science, but explained well enough throughout that I can follow it -- and want to! I wish more sf writers were doing that these days. It probably helps that the science is my old love, astronomy. In the book, a black cloud is heading straight for our sun -- and when it arrives, things are going to get mighty cold on Earth. Highly recommended -- some beautiful writing and a tight plot. Classic sf. Amazon does carry it, along with some of his nonfiction books.
Today, I'll probably be putting up Clean Sheets a little early -- there's not so much to add this week (a story, a poem, an article, a website review), and I have a dinner party tonight. Maybe I'll just wait and stay up late doing it after dinner...we'll see. The dinner party is for Ingrid, one of my college roommates who's in town for a bit from L.A. She's probably *enjoying* this weather. She *likes* the cold. The girl has Viking blood in her...you should have seen the firm way she dealt with the guy who burst into our apartment at 2 a.m....but that's another story.
A little last-minute shopping (just Susan and Bailey and one thing for Kevin left), and a little grocery shopping, and then I'm done, huzzah. I'm not looking forward to going out in the cold, but I suppose I'll live. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to log in over the next few days; I'm going down to Kevin's parents' sometime tomorrow, and while they have net access, it's somewhat spotty, as you may remember. Not sure when I'll be back -- probably by the 27th or so. Clean Sheets will *not* be updated in the fifth week of December; we'll come back first week of January.
So if I *don't* talk to you again, have a wonderful holiday. May the Christians be Christmassy, and may the rest of you not be too much annoyed, and at least get a few days off work. Peace!