Friday, December 21, 2007

It's the solstice: Good news and bad news

Winter in the Northern Hemisphere officially began a couple of minutes ago, at 10:08pm Pacific time. Take whatever actions you feel are appropriate.

The bad news is, well, that it's winter. In this part of the country, that means that we'll have probably a total of a week of actually bad, wintry weather between now and spring, a condition made worse in my neck of the woods by the utter unfamiliarity of most natives with the basic rules of safe winter driving (or the elementary laws of physics). The rest of the time it will simply be dark and rainy, which eventually wears on me no matter how much optimism I enter the season with.

The good news, of course, is that the days will start getting longer again from now until June. At first, we'll only gain about 5 seconds of daylight a day, but that will increase until, by mid-March, we'll be racking up over 3 minutes of extra daylight per day. (Then it will gradually scale back until mid-June, balance there for a day or so on the knife's edge, and then begin retreating back into darkness at about 5 seconds per day again.)

A Riddle - On Snow
James Parton

From Heaven I fall, though from earth I begin.
No lady alive can show such a skin.
I'm bright as an angel, and light as a feather,
But heavy and dark, when you squeeze me together.

Though candor and truth in my aspect I bear,
Yet many poor creatures I help to insnare.
Though so much of Heaven appears in my make,
The foulest impressions I easily take.

My parent and I produce one another,
The mother the daughter, the daughter the mother.

No comments: