Wednesday, January 8, 2014

We went through a little “cold snap” Monday night—temperature about nine degrees below zero, I understand. It was cold but no special problems with me or my friends and acquaintances. I don’t appreciate weather that cold. I recall a year (I believe it was in the early 1980’s) that the temperature did not get above single digits for weeks. It was a time of trial for me. Then, finally one morning, I turned the radio on to hear a forecast of fifty degrees for the day. I rejoiced in the balmy weather. It was a pleasure to go outside. There was a period of time in another year when it snowed almost every day. Such weather remained common throughout January and February. The snow accumulated and did not melt. It was March until I saw bare earth again.

Disagreeable as cold temperatures and snow are, my principal complaint about winter is the absence of light. I am a person of the sun and the darkness of winter takes its toll on me. I dislike having darkness descend (or rise, which is more accurate) at 5:00 PM. I feel cheated of the evening, the long hours of fading light and the final flights of birds and then the quiet slipping into darkness and rest that are normal for the warmth of summer. The end of day seems to come suddenly in winter, crashing down before you’re ready for it, a rude end to the day. And morning seldom seems to come with any grace. A sort of half light appears and persists and one is supposed to complete any tasks of the day by this inadequate illumination. I have a friend who counts the days of January, February and March with the thought in mind that each day brings us approximately one more minute of daylight. I subscribe to the same custom, but it is amazing how much longer the process takes than the opposite journey to less light that occurs from midsummer on.

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