Friday miscellany: The light is shifting

We are approximately 7.5 weeks past the winter solstice right now. Who’s counting? Me. I am somewhat obsessed with the patterns of how light shifts in the darker months. It can be quite quick once it starts. Two years ago, I wrote my monthly newsletter on noticing when the light shifts, using the example of the far northern reaches that have 24-hour darkness in winter and 24-hour light in the summer. In some places, for instance, you have to go from no light on January 15 to 24 hours on May 15, which means that once the light starts appearing in mid-January you get a lot more each day. Like you go from no light to 6 hours of it in 2 weeks.

There was a larger point about how many trajectories can change — a small change at first, and then huge strides. But I’ve been thinking about the light and weather in particular as we round into the middle of February. Time always passes. And so the sun is now setting at 5:32 p.m., rather than 4:40 p.m. The highs will be in the 50s the next few days (before falling into winter weather again). It is not spring yet by any means. But it is coming. First there are hints. Small signs. And then it will be inevitable.

These Friday miscellany posts are always a hodge podge, so just a few random items. My husband took the 7-year-old and 2-year-old to the YMCA indoor pool last night while I was at choir and they had a really good time. I bought silly little Valentines for all the kids and am planning a Valentine’s Day celebration on Monday. My husband and I are celebrating the 19th anniversary of meeting each other next week, and the 18th anniversary of getting engaged, though as far as I know the only thing we have on the calendar for that is a joint meeting with someone about the water pipes on our street. Good times. Wouldn’t that have been a romantic thing to realize as we saw each other that first night in Boxers, a bar in NYC…19 years from now you will be sending each other calendar invites about meeting with someone from the utility.

Last night/this morning featured one of those parenting moments that will either make you laugh or cry. We had a new cleaning service start yesterday, and they did a great job, but my 7-year-old discovered as he was going to bed that “Snake-y,” his stuffed snake, was missing from his “crew.” This is the carefully arranged pile of stuffed animals that sit on his bed. The cleaners had miraculously managed to make the bed nicely and get all the stuffed animals back where they were — not an easy feat, if you study the picture accompanying this post — except that Snake-y was missing. So we looked under the bed, under the piles of other animals, in closets, etc. He was quite upset, but was willing to go to bed. I should mention that I had turned everyone else’s lights out at this point. I went hunting through the playroom and so forth.

At 6:30 this morning, he was knocking on my bedroom door. “Did you find Snake-y?” No, I had not. He waited patiently while I got dressed and then went with me to get his 14-year-old brother up.

And there, at the foot of the 14-year-old’s bed, was Snake-y. Snake-y had not slithered there on his own. He had been moved, by the 14-year-old, for reasons I do not understand. But at least he was found. The 7-year-old used some of the extra time he was up and awake to go outside and bounce around on his pogo stick since, hey, it was light and warmer out!

It seems the Super Bowl is this weekend, so I will probably watch it. I want to watch some of the taped highlights of the Olympics, but I keep forgetting and stuff comes up. It’s funny to put “watch TV” on one’s priority list but I guess this is the weekend to do it…

Photo: The crew, including Snake-y

4 thoughts on “Friday miscellany: The light is shifting

  1. I am so glad Snake-y was found 😀
    And Yay! to longer days of summer (it’s already starting in my part of the world)

  2. “Though as far as I know the only thing we have on the calendar for that is a joint meeting with someone about the water pipes on our street.” Lines like this always make me laugh. What becomes normal in parenting or marriage relationships would likely be slightly horrifying to my younger self. But that’s life and it’s also part of the intimacy that grows as lived become more and more entwined in the mundane and the spectacular (although most falls into the mundane category).

    In terms of light, I read a blog post by Diane (Life Off Headset: yesterday. It’s worth a read!
    Here is a snippet:
    “I know the way the light falls is just how the earth spins and tilts, but it seems like there is some cosmic plan here. Why else would the world look so beautiful just when I don’t feel like I have the time to slow down and not miss it? I mean now, when it is so cold outside and the dirty slush soaks through my poor choice of footwear? When all I want to do is be back inside my house, something is telling me that, “No, actually, what you need is fresh air. There is plenty out here if only you will pause and look and breathe.”

    Of course I know that in a few weeks, the sun will hit that special horizon spot at a different point in my day. It will be there slanting through the kitchen window as I make breakfast, lunch and prep dinner. Morning activities that once felt practically nocturnal when carried out in the pre-dawn darkness will now feel very much part of the day.

    I guess the sunlight will always peek through the trees and over rooftops twice a day. The rays will come through the kitchen window in the morning and flood the living room in the afternoon. It’s a predictable yet moving moment.”

  3. I used to do a project with my high schoolers on plot the hours of sunlight (it’s a sine curve, and the inflection point, the spring equinox).
    One thing I keep noticing is the speed of the sun across the sky – you know how it seems to get up there so quickly in the morning, once it actually gets over the horizon, but then it feels like it kind of just hangs out up there for a while?

    1. @Laura- very cool that it’s a sine curve! I want to be in the far north for the summer solstice some time – far enough for 24 hour daylight. I’ve been places where it’s light at 3 a.m., but not all the way.

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