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Saturday, June 21, 2008


Happy Solstice

In Fairbanks we really have a love/hate relationship with the summer solstice.

Starting on the first semi-warm day in March we talk with glee about the days getting longer. By the end of May we talk about all the wonderful daylight we are getting. We chuckle at the tourists who have difficulty understanding that we don't have a fireworks display on the Fourth of July, and in June we throw a huge party on the day of the summer solstice.

But as often (possibly more often) as we talk about the glorious summer solstice we talk about what comes after. "Days are getting shorter." "By the end of August the leaves will be falling." "Two months from now it will be dark at this time." "Only ten, maybe twelve more weekends and it will be winter." "Now we're losing daylight." "Won't be long now."

Contrast that to the winter solstice. We are mostly indifferent to the winter solstice. The winter solstice might get mentioned in passing, but there is no light at the end of the tunnel on the day of winter solstice. The two coldest months are yet to come and December isn't even over. Breakup is at least four months away. It's going to be three months before the sun is above the horizon on your morning commute. People spend much more time worrying and hoping that their car will start in the cold weather than they do contemplating the fact that the sun is above the horizon for an additional 6+ minutes every day.

But, by God, you can't have a conversation in late June or July without someone bemoaning the fact that today is six minutes shorter than yesterday.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel on winter solstice, but on summer solstice there is certainly darkness at the end of the well lit tunnel. Summer may have just officially started, but that simply means it's time to start preparing for winter. In these parts fall only lasts a few short weeks. If you wait until fall to prepare for winter you are screwed.

It may be a balmy 80 degrees today, but in the back of every one's mind is the thought that from this point forward the days only get shorter.

It won't be long now.

Hey, I know that. Ok, so we had the longest day of the year (here in Tampere, which is far down south, really, the sun was down for what, three hours, and even that wasn't really dark), but you know what: Christmas is just around the corner...

And the days are really getting shorter, what a pain =)
Dude, I'm tellin' ya. I noticed that the sun was up was 30 seconds less today than yesterday.
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