In Latin solstice means sun standing still. In Homer right now, that's exactly how it feels. The sun seems to move so slowly in it's short arc across the sky. Celebrating Solstice by the lighting of lights, the gathering of people for feasting and celebration are all really just ways to get through the long days with very little light from the sun and, in the northern hemisphere, cold temps which limits outdoor movement and gives way to 'cabin fever'. We are no strangers to cabin fever here in southcentral Alaska, though we have nothing to complain about compared to Barrow in the far north, which lost it's sun about a month ago and will not see it again for another month! All over the state, solstice celebrations go back as far as the indigenous peoples who populated our shores. When the russian's brought orthodox christianity, the roman's had already decided that christ's birth should also be celebrated at this time of year, weaving a colorful tapestry of tradition through our festivities. This year we were all brought together by a common thread in the occurrence of a lunar eclipse during the full moon on solstice. They say it hasn't happened since Galileo's time. With clear skies holding strong all week, everyone in town was buzzing about it. The weatherman called for cloudy skies that night, but for once we were glad they were wrong!
I could not get a good shot of the actual eclipse to save my life, but my friend Michael Armstrong has some great pictures up on the Homer News website. Everyone I talked to the day after had seen it. It was an amazing shared experience and I remember as I sat by the fire that night, surrounded by all our great neighbors, it felt like we stepped back in time and were celebrating the beginning of the holiday season by focusing on what really matters, the marvels of the world around us, good people to share that world with, and oh yeah...staying warm. It was one chilly night.
Here are some snowflakes that won't make you chilly! In fact they are nice and spicy so they warm you from the inside out...perfect accompaniment to hot chocolate on a cold evening of celestial wonder.
Thanks to Ben and Irene and Shea, Abbey and Ryan and Stephanie for pumping out the most amazing cookie display we've ever had. You are all awesome! And to the Barista's who keep the cookie train running: Bri and Jill, Rachel and Hailey and Beth, Maya and the amazing Natalia. We are so grateful to you all!
We are taking orders just until the end of the day today, though our elves will be baking away to make sure there are enough holiday treats for everyone.
We'll be open Christmas eve until 4pm. Closed Christmas Day.
Back to our regular schedule after that, yes we will be open New Years Day with lot's of biscuits and gravy to soak up the last of the holiday cheer.