No matter what challenges life—or even just the pressures of the holiday season—might be putting in our path at this moment, still it is a time for rejoicing. Late in the day on Saturday, December 21—at 11:19 p.m. to be precise—the Earth’s northern hemisphere will stop its cyclical tipping into darkness away from the sun. This is the Winter Solstice and, although it’s the first day of winter, the days finally stop getting shorter and, in increments of a few seconds a day, the darkness begins to recede and daylight is extended. What could be more worthy of celebration than that?
As Jessica Booth wrote for Bustle.com: “For many cultures around the world, the winter solstice marks an important milestone. It’s the shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year, and signals a powerful transition point between seasons that is impossible to ignore. Because of this, it has been celebrated and revered in ancient civilizations, indigenous cultures, and various religions, all of which have their own rituals for taking advantage of the unique energy.
“According to Forever Conscious, ‘The winter solstice celebrates the longest hours of darkness or the rebirth of the sun and is believed to hold a powerful energy for regeneration, renewal and self-reflection. In Pagan times the winter solstice was referred to as Yule and was a celebration of the Goddess (Moon) energy. It was believed that on this day, the moon would give birth to the sun.’”
Whatever your thoughts about celebrating (or not) whichever holidays at this season, why not open yourself up and incorporate some of this ancient astronomical energy into your observance? Opportunities abound in all different faiths.
To name only one of these, consider the 5 p.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at the Remsenburg Community Church on South Country Road. The celebrant will be the Reverend Nancy Jennings of Quogue; music will be provided by Christine Rodeo on the organ and Mark Rodeo on guitar. All are welcome.
“Flowers into Paint” Workshop Draws on Georgia O’Keeffe
The Quogue Library will be hosting representatives of the Pollock Krasner House and Study Center today, Thursday, December 19, at 4 p.m. at the Firehouse on Jessup Avenue for a “Flowers into Paint, Georgia O’Keeffe” workshop designed to help participants create “flowers that burst into color!”
Drawing inspiration from the work of popular American artist Georgia O’Keeffe, participants will design floral paintings that are larger than life. The workshop will begin with an interactive slide show discussion of O’Keeffe’s work, followed by a related painting project.
Advance registration is requested; call 631-653-4224.
Library “Snowman Stroll” Celebrates Happy, Jolly Souls
Based on the enthusiastic response to this fall’s scarecrow contest, the Quogue Library has established the first annual “Snowman Stroll” gallery of representations of “snow” figures displayed along Jessup Avenue from December through February 3, 2020.
Library patrons were invited to participate by decorating a wooden snowman template provided by the library, with a deadline of December 2 for returning finished pieces. Library staffers then installed the “snowmen” along the village pond on the corner of Jessup Avenue and Midland Street, opposite the library’s temporary headquarters whilst the Quogue Street facility is undergoing extensive expansion and renovation construction.
The snowman event is not a contest; there will no announcement of winners. According to the library, the intention was “simply to add whimsy and delight to the community of Quogue this holiday and winter season.”
All are welcome to review the artistic creations at their leisure, or to join the library for a community-wide “Snowman Stroll” on Sunday, December 22, at 2 p.m. with hot chocolate and a movie immediately following inside the Quogue Firehouse.
Village Mourns Passing of Sacha Ames
One of the brighter lights in the Quogue community landscape has gone out with the passing of Alexander “Sacha” Ames of Quogue and Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, who died on December 14, 2019, at the Kanas Center for Hospice Care. He was 71.
From the time when he first moved to Westhampton Beach, Sacha began building strong ties to his new home, making a place for himself first with the establishment of Anvil Construction, focusing on all aspects of building construction, welding sculpture and furniture making.
Moving to Quogue, he formed Alexander Ames Inc., working as a contractor and builder in home construction and renovation, supported by his wife Hilary working on various aspects of design, décor and management of the business. His comprehensive storehouse of knowledge in the building trade and all things mechanical made him a sought after source of advice and assistance, even after his retirement.
His extensive community involvement included service as a member of the Westhampton War Memorial Volunteer Ambulance and as a member of the Quogue Fire Department since 1981. He served as Chief of the department from 1992 to 1994. He also served on the Quogue Zoning Board of Appeals for some 24 years, starting in 1995.
Born in Montclair, New Jersey, Sacha grew up in Miami, Mexico City, and Carmel, California. Summers were spent with grandparents on Lake Champlain in Mallets Bay, Vermont. He was an alumnus of Montclair Academy and Union College.
His love of travel took him to Africa, on various cruises and family visits, regular sojourns to New Hampshire and Vermont. He was a member of Quantuck Beach Club, which is where he met his wife.
Survivors remember his epicurean tastes, including a fondness for good caviar, and his talents as a cook whose carefully prepared meals were enjoyed by all.
A voracious reader on all subjects, especially history, Sacha was an avid boater, sailor, fisherman, and sporting gun and aviation enthusiast. He was known as a spirited conversationalist, who thoroughly enjoyed a good debate over just about anything. He was especially devoted to all his dogs, which were always with him as he cruised around the community in his familiar truck with the large spotlight on top.
He is survived by his wife Hilary, and their yellow labrador Nilla; his brother, Christopher Ames (Carol) of San Francisco; sisters Victoria Bernstorff (Frants) of Denmark, and Elizabeth Ames of West Orange; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorial donations to East End Hospice and/or the Quogue Fire Department.
So deeply were Sacha’s life and personality woven into the fabric of the community that he had practically become an institution unto himself, always giving back as much or more than the tremendous amount of enjoyment he got out of living the fullest of lives here. Hilary’s and his family’s loss is also a great loss for the village. He will truly be missed by many.
Sacha’s passing offers a poignant reminder that, even amidst the many celebrations of the holiday season, there are many who must contend with loss and sorrow or other hardships. As we wish each other salutations of the season, At Quaquanantuck hopes that everyone can spare a good thought and keep an open heart for all those whose struggles stand in such stark contrast to the widely broadcast tidings of comfort and joy.
In honor of the holiday, At Quaquanantuck will not be publishing next week and will return on or about January 2, 2020. Wishing all readers and all in our community love and light, joy and peace, and the happiest of solstice celebrations in this season of renewal.
Your Comments Welcome
At Quaquanantuck is happy to provide a forum for civil discussion of village issues and initiatives and welcomes all comments. All are encouraged to share observations, ideas and opinions by writing to AtQuaq@gmail.com.
At Quaquanantuck encourages readers to send in news and notes and photos of interest to Quogue residents, even if the items are being sent from winter addresses or other parts of the country—or the world. Friends and family who enjoy all things Quogue are encouraged to email AtQuaq@gmail.com and ask to be put on the mailing list.