The darkest evening of the year…

I have no idea if it’s actually going to be the darkest evening of the year or not, but it’s going to be the longest even if only by a few seconds. I post about the winter solstice just about every year knowing full well that the coldest days of winter are still a few weeks ahead. Maybe it’s important to me because I’ve always been more a worshiper of the light rather than the heat. Getting back to a schedule that feels a little less mole-like is just incredibly appealing after weeks of rising in the darkness, working in a cave, and returning home again in darkness.

The solstice at least marks where that trend starts slowly to right itself. You can say what you want about Christmas and the reason for the season, but maybe there’s just enough pagan left in me that solstice feels like something that should be a celebration. Solstice is the hope of spring and growth and warm afternoons tending the yard. The irony of the fact that I’m currently also working on a future blog post about hope and why it’s bad isn’t lost on me in the least as I type these words. Despite what I’ll soon tell you about the problematic nature of hope, for the moment, hope is going to have to be enough.

The darkest evening of the year…

The winter solstice arrives at 11:49 PM EST and with it the longest evening of the year. That means tomorrow there will be fractionally more daylight time than there was yesterday. There are still a few weeks where sunrise will keep getting later in the morning, but that will be offset by gains made in the afternoon.

This is actually the second post I wrote this evening. The first took on an altogether too bleak feel that was neither desired nor intended, but that nevertheless hung over it like a shroud. Take two, here, is an effort to redeem myself by striking a slightly less emo chord.

This time of year always reminds me of a long ago English class and Robert Frost’s melancholic snowy wood. Even now twenty years later Mr. Frost’s words and Mrs. Butler’s voice are stuck firmly in my head on nights like this.

Long, dark nights didn’t bother me much back then, but the older I get the more I find myself in favor of those languid summer nights when twilight seems to hold on for hours. They’re a long way off yet, but by morning we’ll have turned the corner – sometimes that’s enough.

Extra hour…

Victory-Cigar-Congress-Passes-DSTWhile I’m sitting here at 9:30 with most of the items on my list knocked off for the day, I’m enjoying the “extra” hour today. Sure, now I know most people want to use that hour for rest, but lying in bed wide awake for an hour just isn’t my speed. That being the case, the solution was obvious – get up and start getting stuff done at 5:30 this morning. The baseboards are ready for the heating season, the air conditioner is ready to haul down to the basement, the living room and kitchen got cleaned – but not before there was a real ham and eggs breakfast, the leftover ham is now in salad form chilling in the fridge, and a leftover chicken bits from last night are simmering themselves into stock for eventual noodle soup. All days should be this productive.

Check back with me in about 7 hours when we’re approaching dusk and I’ll sing you another tune. That part of the “extra hour” makes me crazy – if for no other reason than needing headlights to get home from work for the next five months is so damned dispiriting. With the impending end of yard work and a lot more dark hours to fill, it’s a good time of year for writing. If there’s any real silver lining that’s got to be it. I guess it’s time to drag out the sweaters and wool socks and kick this whole hermit thing into high gear.

Darkness at dawn…

It occurs to me that when I wake up at the customary weekend time of 6:30 it’s going to be absolutely dark again at a time of day I’ve just started getting use to having light. Tomorrow, though, the sun will follow me up in short order. The big problem is coming on Monday, because 6AM looks awfully bleak when it’s pitch black outside.

There’s probably a fine balance that we could strike between springing forward and falling back. As I’ve covered before, I’d say just do away with the whole mess completely and let the time and daylight operate independently of one another rather than making a hash of yoking them together as we have for the last hundred odd years. Surely tinkering with the time could simply be solved by letting individuals adjust their own wake-up time to accommodate the mount of daylight they want earlier or later in their respective day.

Frankly the whole concept of daylight saving time feels like a concept that has outlived its usefulness. Now that we’re well into the 21st century and even farming can be done by GPS in the dead of night, why we can’t simply pick one or the other and stay there is simply beyond my meager abilities to understand.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Power everything. As a rule I appreciate the power accessories that Toyota has jam packed into my Tundra. What I don’t like is that now that the days have turned brisk, my “automatic” power window has an annoying habit of going down about a third of the way and then stopping. Press the button again and It sluggishly goes down the rest of the way. It’s obviously some kind of issue with the electronics, but it means I spend most mornings hoping that it won’t get stuck halfway down when roll though the front gate at work on some 35 degree, rainy morning. I’m going to try nursing it though another 1000 miles until the truck goes in for its next oil change so I can kill both birds with one trip. Until then, I’m going to nostalgically wish that I could just make the necessary adjustments with an old fashioned hand crank rather than a rather suspect electric motor.

2. A cold dark place. Getting dark at 5PM sucks. It sucks worse when it’s accompanied by the temperature dropping like a stone. When I moved back to Maryland, part of me was happy at the idea of having an actual winter again. As the nights get longer and the ambient temperature gets colder, I’m beginning to rethink that particular part of my rationale. Since this is one of those gripes that there is absolutely no way to do anything about other than turn on every light in the house and throw another log on the fire, this has served no purpose other than making me feel slightly better by voicing my distinct displeasure at the current state of affairs.

3. Something to do. For the better part of the last week, I’ve had the overwhelming feeling that there was something I was supposed to do. I have no earthly idea what that might be, but it’s still a nagging thought in the back of my head. My Google calendar isn’t screaming that I missed anything important and I’m not getting any foreclosure or impending disconnection notices, so it can’t be anything too pressing. Knowing that it’s surely nothing important, though, doesn’t make it any less annoying.