Friday, December 23, 2016

Yay! We got here again

Here in the northern part of the northern hemisphere of this planet, we are aware that we just had the winter solstice, that moment when the north pole is as far away from our sun as it gets.  I read on the web that the exact moment of the winter solstice was 4:44 AM Central Standard Time yesterday, Wednesday, December 21.  I guess that 200,000 years is a reasonable figure for how long we humans have been around.  I imagine that during that time, the worriers and the futurists got concerned that the shortening days would continue to shorten and then what?

It is nice to look at the analemma and see that our days are starting to lengthen.  I just read that due to some inequalities between sunrise and sunset, we don't really have much better daylight hours until after Jan. 7. Even then, the new length is only a minute or two longer.   I can't detect much difference in daylight or warmth or any of the parts of winter that I want to improve yet but the idea that we are on the upswing and already approaching spring and the re-burst of life is very appealing.

The land around us is rather flat because of the action of glaciers in the last ice age but even so, actual sunrise and the moment of sunset is difficult to detect.  Trees, slight hills and buildings can obscure the sun and delay the first actual sighting of a ray of sunlight.  With the right conditions, it is impressive how the sun can line up with the edge of land here and cast a ray right along the surface.  Then, a weed only a foot tall can cast a shadow ten feet or more in length.

I am grateful for my breakfast orange that would not be available here now without the current arrangements of farming, transportation and merchandising.  I am very grateful for the natural gas and the pipes that get it here and the furnace that heats us with it.  I am grateful for the electricity and the computer and the internet and the fingers on the keyboard that give me something I enjoy during the winter.  I apologize to those in the southern hemisphere for wishing their warmth and sunlight away.

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