Two dozen people gathered at Fort Lewis College early Tuesday to mark the longest day of the year ancestral Puebloan style.
They watched as the sun, shining through a recessed window high in the northeastern corner of the Center of Southwest Studies exhibit gallery, cast a spiral image on the opposite wall.
The Solstice Window, created by Denver artist Scott Parsons as a tribute to the solstice markers of the early indigenous people of the Southwest, was incorporated into the design of the building.
The appearance of the symbol Tuesday didnt coincide with the official sunrise of 5:51 a.m. but had to wait until the sun found its way over the mountains to the east, after 6 a.m.
Sunset, officially 8:35 p.m., made Tuesday the longest day of the year 14 hours, 44 minutes long.
Two first-timers were among those taking in the celestial display.
Nancy Stoffer, who works at Durango Nursery & Supply, overcame the inertia that has dogged her for years.
Ive known about solstice day for years, and Ive thought about it often from my bed, Stoffer said. I guess I knew Id always have another chance.
Sheila Burnett, a retired interior decorator from Charleston, Miss., came with an interest in ancestral Puebloan culture.
I tried to get some of my friends to come, but they said, If it were at 5:45 p.m., maybe. Well, I cant put my interest on hold, she said.
The symbol projected on the wall is visible for about 20 minutes each morning during the week before and after the summer solstice, the point at which the sun is highest in the sky. But the image is the sharpest on the day when summer officially begins.