As I’m writing this column, it is still dark outside. It’s quite foggy outside and I’m not sure I’ll see the sun when it makes its appearance. But about five minutes ago, I heard the first birds begin to sing outside my window and so I know it’s close to sunrise. I’m not sure how they know, but birds are pretty reliable about things like that.
This time of day is wonderful, even in the fog. I love how the trees are mere shadows through the cloud that’s hanging low over our valley. I love the bird songs and to enjoy their antics as they dive and peck for the new seed we’ve loaded in the feeders. I love the smell and taste of my first cup of coffee in the morning.
Some of you may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, in which case this is not a time of year (at least in Ohio) that brings you joy. I am guessing that foggy days are even worse than normal, short winter days. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to the change in seasons. Most of us have days when we feel “blue,” but SAD is more than that, and is to be taken seriously.
As I write this, sunrise is officially listed — according to timeanddate.com — as 7:57 a.m. Sunset will occur at 5:27 p.m., providing us with mere seconds over nine hours, twenty-nine minutes of precious daylight. You will be reading this column on Jan. 13, if you read the paper the day you received it. By then, we’ll have increased our daylight hours to 9 hours, 37 minutes, 28 seconds.
That’s more than eight more minutes of daylight! EIGHT! In just one week, we’re gaining more than a minute a day of precious daylight, and many days it won’t be just light, it will be bright and sunny, as well.
By the end of January, we’re up to over 10 hours, 9 minutes of daytime hours. That’s almost 40 minutes longer and it’s only a couple of weeks away!
As you can tell, I enjoy tracking the increase in daytime. I don’t pay any attention at all to the increases or decreases after we spring forward. I easily coast through spring and summer without knowing the exact times of sunrises or sunsets. At some point in late October, I begin to notice the shortening days and by the time we fall back, I am thinking about how long we have each day.
The good news is that the very shortest days are between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we’re all pretty busy shopping, wrapping, cooking, decorating, eating, and celebrating. Then, suddenly, Christmas is over, a new year has started, and (if we’re lucky), our favorite football team has won its’ final game of the season. By this time, we’re already on the upswing of getting more daylight each day.
There’s a reason for every season, so let’s celebrate winter! The earth is resting and rebuilding and we can take this time to rebuild as well.
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy.