[Says John] Well, we made it through the shortest day of the year--and it wasn't that bad, really. The sun rose at 9:22 or 9:23 (depending which website you get your info from) and set at 1:42 or 1:43, giving us 4 hours and 20 minutes of visible sun between those two events. If you add on the considerable dawn and dusk times, you get 6 hours and 53 minutes--almost seven hours of other than complete darkness. You know--livable, really.
One week from now, we'll have 8 minutes more of visible sun, two weeks from now, we'll have 28 minutes more, and one month from now we'll have one hour and 45 minutes more.
Six months from now, the sun will appear at 2:11 a.m., and disappear at 11:01 p.m. Add in dawn and dusk then and we will indeed have 24 hours of sunlight. Wowsers.
Of course, even without the sun, the darkness is not total --unless it's very overcast. We've got stars and moon (about 8 hours and 12 minutes of moonrise today, although a chunk of that overlaps with daylight), and most spectacularly, the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. I've seen them about five times now since we arrived (sometimes they're just not happening, sometimes it's too cloudy, and most often, I'm inside like a dullard, watching TV). A few nights ago it was pretty spectacular, one long green, flashing stream that started on the western horizon, streaked right overhead almost to the eastern horizon, and then swung left to disappear behind the hill on the north side of town. And it flashes out like a bolt of pure silk flapping in a strong wind. It always makes me think of that line from one of the later verses of Silent Night: "Glories stream from heaven afar." That's what it looks like; I wonder if that's the image the composer had in his mind.
I also went out skiing on the shortest day of the year (12th time out). It was -12 degrees and snowing lightly, which seemed positively balmy after my previous outing, when it was -37 (-47 with the wind chill). Amazingly, I was reasonably comfortable even on that coldest day, with a face mask, during my one-and-a-half hours outside. Was happy to come back in, though.
It struck me, when I was skiing on the shortest day of the year, that I just might be able to ski on the longest day of the year, too. That would be kind of fascinating, although, keen skier that I am, even for me that seems like maybe too long a season.
Christmas week looks like it's going to be a lot of fun, with games every night, carol singing, and we're invited to a solstice party, and at least one other music night. And we're having some of Lorraines work colleagues over for Christmas turkey.
I mailed a Christmas parcel to my Mom last Monday, and wonder of wonders, she got it on Wednesday. How's that for service? On the other hand, Mom mailed us a parcel on Dec. 4, and we still don't have it. The tracking record says it arrived at the Montreal station Dec. 12, and that's the last it was heard from. The post office guy here says a bunch of stuff just came in from Montreal, but they didn't have it sorted on Friday. He says there's a good chance it's there. Fingers crossed.
And here's wishing all of you a Merry Christmas season, however you like to keep it. Blessings to you.