this is the dawning


We’re stuck in LA for a few more days, but that didn’t stop the appearance of St. Lucy on her special day this morning – truly neither rain nor sleet nor dark of night can stay this courier from delivering her saffron buns and coffee on the 13th of December:


Actually, she didn’t have time for the dough to fully rise before kindergarten, so Tessa vamped with “saffron toast” which was pretty damned good in its own right. Lucy’s always been proud of the part she plays each December, and rightly so: in Sweden, the right to play Santa Lucia in each town is so hotly-contested that even the boys are wondering “why couldn’t Lucia be a guy?” They’re tired of being the stjärngossar (star boys) walking behind Lucia as she delivers her lussekatter to the townsfolk, as I’m sure you’d be too.

Another fascinating tidbit if you’re a spaz like me: St. Lucy’s day evolved from much darker, pre-Christian celebrations that were centered around the winter solstice, and the struggle for “light” itself to come back into the world. To many people of early Northern Europe, it was the longest night of the year, even though the actual solstice is eight days later.

However, if you look at sunrise and sunset times around mid-December, you’ll notice they vary by only a few seconds, certainly nothing an ancient Norseman could have calculated. To them, it was close enough for jazz.

Speaking of light, I have oft waxed melancholic about having to spend so much time away from New York, but every once in a while, you have to appreciate California’s small miracles. This was taken on Sunday, 78 degrees, while a monster snowstorm pummeled the country’s midsection:




Even better, a pod of dolphins came to frolic in front of us – a joy to watch, but almost impossible to photograph with the same feeling:




On these shortest days, when our hemisphere is tipped so far away, the path of the sun is so shallow that sunsets take forever. Just as we were about to leave, I took one last picture of the sun’s final flicker, and a dolphin happened to say hi.


click to see closer

0 thoughts on “this is the dawning

  1. kent

    So… wait! Blue LEDs???
    The St. Lucy tradition (according to ‘Travel With Rick Steves’) came from the story that St. Lucy delivered food in the catacombs to Christians in hidings. Since her hands were full of food she put candles in a wreath around her head to light her way. So the story combines Christian compassion with Swedish practicality.
    And maybe leave the part about the Romans plucking out her eyes until Lucy is a little older.


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