Today is the winter solstice.
Twelve years ago this morning, my dad woke me up before sunrise and took me to the Vilas Circle Bear Effigy Mound. It was only a few blocks away from where we lived, and I'd been there a million times before.
I had never paid much attention to the circle, an ancient Native American burial ground for the Ho-Chunk (also known as the Taychopera or Winnebago), even though my best friend Ben lived just on the other side of it.
Anyway, I was pretty annoyed that morning to be awake so early -- this was during winter vacation, of course -- only to be standing around shivering in the dark.
But it was worth the hassle. When the sun rose, it aligned perfectly with the giant rocks that had been resting on the mound for centuries.
It was very cool, although I probably waited only a moment before asking, "Great, can I go back to sleep now?"