A Very Special Solstice

There are special sounds during this Solstice time. Chief among them is the silence. The deep snow absorbs and muffles what little is broadcast in the forest. When the roads are plowed even the distant mechanized drone ceases. We think of the Ojibwe author of the Algic Researches whose name, Bae-Wa-Wa-Gee-Zhik-A-Quay, means “The Woman of the Sound Which Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky” and we listen for that rush in the diamond-studded firmament.

During the day there is that squeaky crunch as boots cross fresh, minus-zero snow under arm loads of true-split maple and oak. There is the satisfying tic-tic-tic-tic-tic as frozen 1x12 scraps are rent into one-inch sticks of kindling with the merest touch of the axe. The dogs galoomph into the snow banks. Cyrus submarines his huge black head under the snow and then heaves back to the surface in an explosion of white powder. Kia shakes her Miniature Husky head with disdain and invites more refined and elegant play with her sharp bark.
 
In rare occurrence the Winter Solstice this year coincided with the full lunar eclipse. Regrettably, the sky was shrouded with snow clouds and only vague hints of changing light were visible. We were interested by the fact that the last such coincidence occurred 456 years earlier just about the time that the first Europeans were moving into the Great Lakes. Same sun, same moon. Same air? Same earth? Same water? Wish we had taken better care of them!
 
Activity in the store is quiet, but steady. The book group has read One Thousand White Women and is moving on to The House of the Spirits and then A Death in the Family. Poetry resounds at the weekly workshop on Thursday nights. We had a wonderful event with New York Times Bestselling author Andrea Cremer (Nightshade) at Stagenorth a few nights ago. She is Ashland born and bred and has woven a sophisticated young-adult tale from her scholarship as an historian and an imagination fueled by her growing-up in these Northwoods. Next week we go classic with the Bayfield Chamber and Visitor Bureau’s "First Friday" themed an Old Fashion Night. Never a dull moment!
 
On a final note, our winter hours go into effect on January 2nd. We will be open Wednesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm.