Looking for Lights—This week’s final growing darkness comes free with enchantment. You only have to look to the night sky for inspiration. This week is the alignment of five planets, two large asteroids, meteor showers, possible northern lights, a handful of satellites, obvious constellations, billions of additional stars and the Moon. It’s absolutely cold and dark and you won’t be rushed, as there there is plenty of time to appreciate the nighttime beauty show. Some lucky Palmer peeps have telescopes and the knowledge to explain all the wondrous things in the sky. But even if you don’t have a scientist on board, look up in awe.
Earth-side Lights—Down here on earth there are many special lights too in Palmer. There is the sweet lit Christmas Tree on the highway. People wear lit hats, light necklaces, and carry flashlights, and torches. In Palmer, there are twinkly lights are everywhere. Christmas decorations reflect and resonate the lights. Backyard and brewery bonfires and campfires are a big deal; fire-pits are a joyous connection. Lampposts are festooned with holiday cheer. Walkers, runners and bikers are lit up, along with their dogs. They wear lights and reflectors and reflective tape and collars. Candles are in many windows. All of these lights scare away the darkness. And last weekend’s fireworks were the biggest exclamation point of light celebrations.
Celebrate Palmer’s Darkest Time—It’s the darkest week of the entire year. We are heading down to the shortest hours of daylight. In the Palmer mornings we see 2 or 3 or 5 different slow sunrises as the sun slips behind mountain tops and pops out intermittently between the ridges. It’s an uncanny performance and—even if you have lived with it for 50 years—it turns us all on our heads. This week is particularly important—because in just one week, we get to reverse that trend. Oh it will be subtle increases of light, but the pendulum of weather and light will have swung to the other side. Our planet will begin to tip back to the light and the deliberate change in axis is a delightful thing to recognize with Solstice.
Solstice Plans in Palmer—Private Solstice Light partiesare planned with enough distance to keep things safe. Good warming foods are prepared along with party music. Ice lit luminaries, icicle flash lights, frozen glowing bubbles, a large fire (and perhaps some performance art applauding the seasonal shift), fireworks, sparklers, torches, lanterns, and interesting light sabers symbolically cut through the darkness. We are so fortunate to see this phenomena in Palmer; our bonfires and Solstice parties are genuine in our appreciation.
The Dark—We know that the dark is temporary. We accept that it heals. Sometimes it does us well to just stand still and absorb its significance. Instead of jovial jumping around party style, we can simply walk in to the dark woods and experience the shortest days and what they mean to us. This quiet retrospective walk is almost a prayer and always a rich moment of awareness.
Jolabokabuchaflod (Christmas Book Flood) in Palmer—This is a book lover holiday. This is a chocolate lover holiday. This is a two day (Saturday and Sunday) book and chocolate exchange event at 203 Kombucha, 105 South Valley Way, uptown Palmer, in the north side. 203 Kombucha is directly across from the skateboard park and shares the building with Poppy Lane. The event is simple—bring a book (new or gently used), unopened chocolate and exchange for a book and chocolate of your choice. This isn’t the first year for this in Palmer. It has happened at the book store, at Vagabonds and now it is at Kombucha 203 so luckily you can also indulge in delicious Kombucha.
Barbara Hunt is both Palmer writer and artist. She works hard to keep the robust pulse of Palmer, Alaska. She shares the good stuff in the weekly Palmer Alaska Buzz Column in the Mat Su Valley Frontiersman and daily on the Palmer Alaska Buzz Facebook Group. Her “Palmer Buzz 2022 Community Calendar” is available at Palmer shops. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or text 907.315.3222