In far northern latitudes, hope arrives on December 21. The next night will be one merciful second shorter; a week later, night has relinquished a minute and a half to day. For ancient people, the struggle to survive until spring must have seemed just a little easier as the sun offered more of its feeble warmth each day after the winter solstice. But how to know when to start hoping, when to celebrate that momentous shift? About 7, 000 years ago, people began building wood and stone circles to mark out the sun’s path, from its extreme northern rise in summer to its farthest southern set in winter. Cattle herders built the earliest known example of these at Nabta Playa, a dry lake bed deep in the Sahara. Over the next 2, 000 years, people all over the world assembled hundreds of similar structures. The most monumental of these, Stonehenge in England, was an intricate This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Four Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 44 Sun Seekers Author Lyra Kilston charts a fascinating scene from the Golden State’s vast counterculture mythology. Arts & Culture Issue 36 In Season An ode to summer’s great springboard. Arts & Culture Traveling Stories “It’s the journey that counts” is a cliché that gets trundled out often. These five podcasts tests its validity. Arts & Culture Issue 14 The Meaning of Light The daily rise and fall of the sun is one of the few reliable occurrences in our lives. Arts & Culture Issue 44 Hannah Traore The art world's next big thing is a gallerist. Arts & Culture Issue 44 The False Mirror Compositions inspired by the iconic clouds—and surrealist sensibilities—of René Magritte.