As regular Zoners know, we often toast and roast the arrival of a new season. So once again we fire up the Joe Zone nuclear-powered microscope, and objectively examine the hated season of winter, that abysmal time of year when death would be welcome relief. I can feel myself curling up like one of the dry, lifeless leaves shriveling and shivering on my lawn, under six inches of ice.
Of course, winter isn’t all bad. Some people actually like winter, and in fact look forward to it. They enjoy the cold, the snow, the lack of light, the misery, the depression, the soul-sucking numbness that winter brings. Scientific study has shown that many of these people have actually had their brains freeze into a solid block of ice. Either that, or they live in Hawaii, and just enjoy saying that they like winter.
Welcome or not, the winter solstice occurred Wednesday, December 21 at 5:44 AM Eastern Standard Time, marking the start of winter. Sol, of course, is what we call the sun (at least, those of us on a first-name basis with it), so it’s easy to figure out that the word “solstice” comes from shortening “Sol stuck in ice.” Similarly, “December” refers to the “declining ember” of the sun in the winter sky. English is actually a very easy and obvious language, if we just pay attention.