Guest column: Here comes the solstice

By Greg Madsen

For the Sequim Gazette

I’ve had just about enough foolishness from Punxsutawney Phil, Groundhog Day’s infamous weather-predicting rodent. Phil has been playing the shadowy “ … six more weeks of winter/we’ll have an early spring” game for more than 122 years—and with only a 39% accuracy!

Yet, look at the publicity! Imagine the business that Phil generates!

I’d wager that there’s not a single newscast in the Northern Hemisphere that doesn’t give some homage to Phil’s Feb. 2 appearance and prediction.

Punxsutawney, a town of a mere 7,000 souls, is perpetually filled to capacity with tourists, despite what its name means in the Delaware Indian language — “land of the mosquitoes.”(!)

Folks might set out as leaf-peepers, they may be intent on antiquing, they could be in pursuit of Pennsylvania maple syrup, (despite incredulous Vermonters, it does exist) but every rubber-necker — be it summer, fall, winter or spring — ends up at the Punxsutawney Library to view the one, the only, Phil.

Sequim definitely needs a mascot!

If there were only some city-wide agreement on an image, something that multiple businesses have included in their names, something that Sequim is internationally known for (that isn’t in the purplish hue) something that is perpetually used in our tourism promotions, something real estate agents include in every pitch to out-of-towners, something…something …

Wait! Millennia from now, when archaeologists sift through what Sequimmers have left behind, they are bound to conclude that we were sun worshippers devoted to the sky god, “Blue Hole.”

They will undoubtedly tie this worship to multiple references to the sun and sunshine in our public signage, to the bright sun abstractions we displayed, to our obsession with rainfall tabulations, to the rough translation of our tribal name, “Sun-He-Skwim.”

There’s our town mascot! The sun!

And what would be Sequim’s equivalent to Groundhog Day? Naturally, the Summer Solstice, which falls conveniently between the Sequim Irrigation Festival (May 4-7) and The Lavender Festival (July 20-22).

This year, our mascot would arrive on June 20, 10:09 PM, PDT. launching a wave of video press releases and a series of luminescent national/international appearances that would continue until the Dec. 21 Winter Solstice.

(I don’t have a clue about what ceremonies would recognize our mascot’s departure for the winter. Maybe (s)he heads off to announce the arrival of summer in Rio de Janeiro, our yet-to-be-designated sister city.)

The Sequim Sun’s costume would brighten any event or interview.

Bright yellow, soft and cuddly, emitting spiked flexible rays, certainly illuminated from within — a joy to behold! Could there be a better photo opportunity?

In recognition of a time-honored Sequim tradition, we might choose to name our Solstice Greeter “Saul.” This would allow us to correct the pronunciation of the unenlightened, very much like we do with our fair city’s name.

“No, not ‘Sawl.’ It’s pronounced, ‘Soul (Sol)—like the sun.’”

Could there be an appropriate city monument to celebrate Saul? There seems to be plenty of room in Carrie Blake Community Park for our own Stonehenge, humankind’s oldest celestial and solar observatory.

Sequim could lay claim to the world’s only full-scale duplicate of this mysterious circle of stone monoliths.

And what would future archaeologists make of that?

Considering the bounty of creativity in Sequim, the mind boggles at the possibilities offered by a living, breathing sun mascot that represents our small paradise.

However, let’s begin this quest by first agreeing not to name her/him “Sunny.”

Greg Madsen is a Sequim resident.