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Missing the Sun

3 mins read

By Lee Scott

It is that time of year again, when the days are getting shorter and shorter. OK, the days are technically still 24 hours long, but you know what I mean. There is less daylight and a lot more nighttime. We started out the month of October with 11 hours and 50 minutes of daylight, and by Halloween we will be down to 10 hours and 54 minutes. This is always tough for me. I love the summer with all that sunlight. My activity level seems endless during the months of May, June and July when we have those days with over 14 hours of daylight. Yet, as I sit complaining about the season change, my husband is thrilled to have the temperature dropping and the humidity levels lowered. He has already ordered firewood. 

But for me, with sunrise running around 7:30 a.m. now, I feel like I am getting up in the middle of the night to have breakfast. And with sunset just after 7 p.m. the dog’s last walk of the day is in the pitch black, especially on those moonless nights.

In talking with friends, I have found there are different attitudes about the march to the Winter Solstice. Like my spouse, they love the idea of the coming winter. It means less outside mowing and gardening, more book reading and quiet time in front of the fireplace. For the people who love winter sports, it is the time to prepare for those trips to ski slopes and ice-skating rinks.

Then there are people who detest the winter season and suffer from a condition known as SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. A woman I worked with years ago self-diagnosed herself with SAD. She had read the symptoms could be offset sometimes by light therapy. She would turn on all the lights in the house before it started to get dark outside. It was her way of dealing with the early sunsets. 

Having looked at all my options through the years, like taking up winter sports, putting lots of new lighting into my home or just accepting that nature has her own mind, I have come up with another option. It is time to book a vacation to Australia in December, when they are preparing for their Summer Solstice. The average length of daylight on Christmas Day in Melbourne, Australia, is close to 15 hours. My kind of day.

But if you are one that beckons the winter months and enjoys the hibernation period, then you will love November 4. That is the day when Daylight Savings Time ends, and the sun sets at 5:29 p.m. You may have to start turning on some of those extra lights anyway. 

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