The short day

Back in June I wrote, “The most bearable part of winter is that the days start getting longer. The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year — sunrise around 7:30 a.m., sunset around 4:15 p.m. in this neck of the woods. As dark and as cold and snowy as it can be, the one constant of winter is that we gain a minute or two of daylight every day, so even as we descend into the cold we literally see more light every day.”

Today is that shortest day of the year. Here in the Frozen Tundra, sunrise is due at 7:25 a.m. and sunset at 4:15 p.m. The sun will be above the horizon for a few seconds more than 8 hours, 49 minutes. The only good thing to say about a day this short is that tomorrow we will have three more seconds of daylight, and Thursday we will have seven more seconds than that, and another 12 seconds on Friday, until we reach the spring equinox and we start getting more light than dark every day. (Info from

I don’t especially enjoy winter weather, but I appreciate how it makes summer feel. As Richard Nixon said on the day he resigned, “Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.” Only if you have trudged through a snowstorm when it’s 10 below zero, can you ever know how magnificent it is to stroll in the sunshine when it’s 75.

Dejah and Summer (pictured) love the snow. Dejah goes out on the deck and rolls in it. Summer eats it and eats it and eats it. They chase each other through the white stuff until we worry that they’ll get too cold.

We could learn a lot by following their lead. It’s going to be cold and snowy anyway, so we may as well have fun.

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