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A Camper Turns Pagan at the Solstice

It's not for nothing that the word 'pagan' meant rustic or country-living person in Latin.  Over the years, the idea has insinuated itself into my mind that a camper (gardener, backwoods home dweller, etc.) is more pagan than a normal person who lives in a sticks-and-bricks house.  The sticks-and-bricks liver is so insulated from the forces of nature that nature is relegated to nothing more than pretty scenery or sentimentalism about cyootsie-wootsie animals.

The paganism of a camper comes out more strongly as we near the winter solstice.  Half of the year the sun is oppressive.  Escaping its cruelty is the primary fact of our existence.  And yet, all of the year our battery is charged by solar energy!  Hours of daylight, angles, and shadows are very real to the camper.  Campers are essentially farmers of solar energy.

And then mid-winter happens.  That horrid monster up there in the sky becomes so wan and sickly.  It's like moving to a different planet.  Or, considering our recent experience of a partial solar eclipse, think of mid-winter as a two-month-long partial eclipse.

Normally I try to ignore the "Christmas" season, and will continue ignoring Christmas shopping and 'baby Jesus in the manger' schlock.  This year I would like to think about and appreciate the importance of the sleepy god in the sky.

Fire and ice during a desert winter.