June 14th, 2009 at 8:35 pm (raven)
Every child is naturally curious about the world. Children explore, chase insects, and question the whys of Nature. Upon growing up, this innate wonder can dull. Be it through weighty responsibilities, boredom, or changes in priorities, adults can forget the joy possible from observing Nature and grappling with its puzzles.
I propose an annual holiday that encourages us to remember and nurture our curiosity about the world and to appreciate what a mystifyingly wonderful thing it is to be alive on an Earth full of beautiful, strange, and diverse life in a Universe of laws and incomprehension.
Summer solstice is the perfect date for such a holiday because it has physical meaning to Nature. It isn’t an arbitrary date; it is the day of the most northern sunrise, the longest day of the year. Not only does this remind us that we live on a planet, but it gives us plenty of daylight to enjoy and explore.
Some Science Solstice celebration suggestions:
- take a nature walk, bring plant and animal identification guides
- have a sciency song sing-along, like Monte Python’s “Galaxy” and They Might Be Giant’s sun song
- spend a least an hour staring at the clouds
- bake bread, thank the yeast
- mixology experiment: layer drinks of different densities
- pull out the binoculars, pull out the telescope
- watch ants
- be thankful we live on a planet with a tilt and this seasons
- contemplate the molten magma beneath your feet
- eat foods that are grown locally and in season
- swap fun science factinis with friends
I believe a holiday encouragng the observance and contemplation of nature encourages spiritual growth as much as (well, OK - I think prbably more than) the traditional religious holidays. What an amazingly magical Universe we live in!