Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunsets and the solstice

Sunset on the Delaware Bay
The earliest sunset of the year (in these parts anyway) happened a couple of sunsets ago ago. The sun is setting later today than it did yesterday.

Folks will argue the point, but I am not so interested in their arguments as their need to have the discussion at all.

We are truly trapped in an abstract of our own making. Noon once meant the time the sun is as high as its going to get on a particular day, and solar noon still means just that, but the sun peaking at noon only happens four times a year now.

And despite what my teachers told me, the sun is never directly overhead in this part of the world.

So I can point folks to the United States Naval Observatory to support my claim, and I often do.

North Cape May winter beach
Here's a better idea, though. Go outside (or at least to a window) and look. Tomorrow do the same. Do it for a week or two. Do the same for sunrise.

I guess it really doesn't matter if someone knows the sunsets are getting later. It may be trivial to most of us. But that's not the point.

If we can so easily fool ourselves about the rise and fall of the sun, imagine the nonsense we do not know that we do not know....

What we believe becomes who we are.


Shannon (@shauser) said...

Learned something new today! I always assumed the days got shorter at both ends until the solstice (oh and of course I doubted what you wrote and had to look it up myself!). I guess I need to watch the world a bit more closely :-)
I'm eagerly awaiting the winter solstice and the returning of the light.

Barbara B. said...

I might be one of the few followers of your blog that has appreciated the sun's beam on our slightly tilted planet since I was a small child. My maternal grandmother, an immigrant from Norway and a December baby, was very aware of the light's wax and wane. I have been in Norway in November and can understand how precious each minute of sunshine is on the psyche. My grandmother would tell me how many minutes we gained or lost on a particular day, or how soon we would turn the corner toward the light. The appreciation\worship is ageless but the dawn of manufactured light made the understanding of it moot for many. Darker mornings now face us for another 12 days, but I will be dancing in the street when the early Christmas present arrives on the horizon. Solstice blessings await us. (AKA the light at the end of the tunnel)

doyle said...

Dear Shannon.

I'd have been disappointed if you didn't check it. =)

Dear Barbara,

Thanks for the words--each minute is indeed precious. I'd lose my mind that far north in the winter. And thank you for teaching me a new word today (hygge)! I'll stick with my craic, though.


Barbara B. said...

I will look forward to enjoying a bit of craic with you sometime :D.