Posted by: Michelle Mitton | December 22, 2008

Alaska Solstice: It’s All Downhill from Here

Solstice in AlaskaYesterday was officially the Shortest Day of the Year.

Not that those of you living in Tuscon think much about little things like your daily sunlight dosage but yesterday the sun rose at 10:14 am and set at 3:41 pm for a total of 5 hours, 26 minutes, 57 seconds of daylight.

The solstice always feels a bit like a false start because in my mind it means we should begin to feel things progressing toward spring when instead we aren’t even into the deepest, coldest part of winter yet.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me—if the days start getting longer come December 22 why doesn’t the weather start getting warmer? June, the month of the summer solstice where we get our longest day of the year, is also the hottest month of the year and has the best weather. Why then should we have the cruel irony of having the winter solstice come a month or two before we even get into the hardest, nastiest part of winter? We’re being cheated I tell you.

It’s really not fair. If all the winter were like it is in December the season would be a breeze to endure. The Christmas part of winter is a novelty with all that white, fluffy snow and the holidays and good willing toward men so that the season just flies by and the significance of the solstice gets lost among the tinsel and mistletoe.

But in January the thrill of the holidays has passed and we’re faced with four months until spring and all that fluffy snow hardens in the bitter cold until when you step it sounds as if you’re walking Styrofoam because of the funny squeaky-crunchy sound. Just because we’ve turned a corner and are now seeing more of the sun doesn’t mean we’re heading to spring, we’ve still got miles to go before winter is conquered and I can once again breathe outside without it hurting all the way down my throat into my lungs.

Though don’t think me ungrateful, I’ll take whatever I can get, even the measly 11 seconds we gained over yesterday and the 23 seconds more we’ll gain tomorrow, but if anyone out there has any influence at all please take note that I’d be forever happier if this creeping back into the daylight meant something more than just more sunlight glinting off the cold-packed snow berms.

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