Happy Solstice

June 21, 2011 § 12 Comments

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered;
the point is to discover them.”
Galileo Galilei

I suspect I was snoring before I’d even made it back to bed. If only for the briefest of moments, I had welcomed the sun on this, its most glorious day as it peeped above the eastern skyline. Ceci and Gret, Rick and Cintia, and all those others standing upside-down, they’ll be saying thank goodness, the winter is turned, but for those of us facing the right way up, the longest day sure does start early.

I once taught the most un-Dogme of lessons. I suppose it was CLIL. They hadn’t asked for it, it was not even on their horizon, so to speak, but be blowed with exercise 4, an orange and a head were all that were required to elaborate Copernicus and Galileo Galilei. Homework, with access to the fruit bowl, ask your mum and dad why we have seasons.

For eons, astronomers did exceedingly well at plotting the tortured paths the planets must travel in their geocentric universe. If you place the wrong thing at the centre, expect trouble. Put the learners there, and we all shine.

Have you ever done that activity where learners must, amongst other things, draw a sun? It’s in an EFL activity book with a dark blue cover, and there’s this psychology experiment where the sun represents the image you have of yourself. It’s funny! Give it a go. That could be my PLN challenge, except that I’ve got another one waiting in the wings.

The arrival of the new plant maker, just a couple of weeks away now, holds great excitement and expectation for me. I’ve always felt like a monk of the middle ages, carefully crafting and compiling works of art for others to behold. But the modern age resists, and demands more, Lord grant me patience, and grant it me now. We live in a heliocentric universe where we are all masters of our own fate, designers of our own destinies, and hey, growers of our own language plants.

Happy solstice, sun gazers.

“Yeah we all shine on,
like the moon, and the stars, and the sun.”
John Lennon


§ 12 Responses to Happy Solstice

  • DaveDodgson says:

    “If you place the wrong thing at the centre, expect trouble. Put the learners there, and we all shine.”

    Great observation!

    One thing that surprised me when I came to Turkey was that nobody seemed to pay much attention to or be very aware of the summer and winter solstices. I guess the effects are much more noticeable in Northern Europe!

    I have fond childhood memories of walking in the countryside after dinner and not returning home until 10 pm 🙂

  • I’ll add here a few fun language facts to this WONDERful post (loved the upside-down reference for our s. hemisphere friends).

    Solstice (from @davedodgson’s tweet) Sol- meaning sun in latin, sistere in latin meaning “still”. “Still sun” I ♥ it.

    In Chinese to say East, the character is “dong” 東 where the sun 日 is rising through a tree 木 !!!

    And lastly, plant… copied directly from etymonline.com O.E. plante “young tree or shrub, herb newly planted,” from L. planta “sprout, shoot, cutting,” perhaps from *plantare “to drive in with the feet, push into the ground with the feet,” from planta “sole of the foot,” from nasalized form of PIE *plat- “flat” (see place (n.)). Ger. Pflanze, Ir. cland, Welsh plant are from Latin. Broader sense of “any vegetable life” is first recorded 1550s. The verb, “put in the ground to grow,” is O.E. plantian, from L. plantare, from planta. Related: Planted; planting. Most extended usages are from the verbal sense. Sense of a building “planted” or begun for an industrial process is first attested 1789. Slang meaning “a spy” is first recorded 1812.

    So is a language plant driven into the ground with a tongue ? (lingua) LOL

  • Alan Tait says:

    What a well-timed reappearance, Dave! You’re always noticing the seasons, aren’t you? I am a jaded indoorsman and have to get out more. (Actually I bought a tent today, so hopefully we will. I want Jamie to sleep out under the stars soon.)

    Oh, on a more sinister note, will the Church be making us Dogmetists retract soon?

  • Been waiting for your post almost as much as I’ve been waiting for the solstice! Welcome back Dave! When I went to Machu Pichu a guide told me the Incas used to believe they had to catch the sun of some sort of cosmic lasso to make sure it would stay in its orbit. This lasso was anchored on the highest mountain of the ancient city, Intihuatana, which is believed to be the tip of a huge monolith going all the way down to the bottom of the mountain. So, it takes a very solid teacher to hold the students in the centre of the universe…;.) Btw, I’m not as good as Brad with etymology, but did you know Inti Taira (inti = sun, taita = father), reminds me that in my dialect (Bergamasque) the word for father is Tata?!?!!?

  • Anna Varna says:

    Beautiful garden (again) David!
    Dave is right about us southerners not paying much attention to solstices. I remember I first realised it was an important celebration when my father started working in a Swedish hotel in Rhodes and all Scandinavian clients were making such a big fuss about it.
    But what he says about going out and not coming back until after ten, you know here in Greece it happens even if there isn’t light. People stay out of their houses until late, even here in crowded and heavily built Larissa, people still spend evenings in the pavements outside their homes and children play outside until after 11.

  • Beutiful plant as usual David… Am not sure whether it’s because I live so close to the Equator, but we don’t have the solstice here… I remember the first time I experienced, in the US… Feeeling sleepy with the sun up – when I looked at my watch it was past 9PM! I couldn’t believe it!

    I love the solstice… Despite my being a night owl I love the sun (I am a gazer!) and daylight. happy solstice David!

  • Yes, David,
    Lovely garden, but if it were bombarded by the relentless sun we get here in Verona coupled with wind then humidity it wouldn’t be flourishing so well. I know this sounds harsh but I spend most of the time trying to keep the sun out of the house, and there’s this whole space in the middle of the day where the only thing you can do is choose between absolute immobility, air conditioning or giving up and going to the swimming pool, which is why I am here, at the swimming pool, reflecting that, actually, it’s quite pleasant in the shade 🙂

  • Hi David

    Lovely plant of the sun and fitting words from the Beatles! You are so clever 🙂 I love the sun as it is so energising.

    Look forward to seeing more of your amazing plants.

    I’m happy you like my little dog on my rather haphazard board work! It will be great if it inspires a plant!! I would so love to be able to draw beyond potato-like images 🙂

    • David Warr says:

      To the lovely people who have commented recently, to Janet, Tizi, Sharon, Ceci and Anna, thank you all very much, I love reading your comments and am happy the post inspired you to write. I’ve been busy working in a summer school the last week, and it’s been fun but full-on. My blog went down the proity list as children wanting to move classes because their friend was in a higher level took precedent!

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