morning has broken.
“the sun himself is weak when he first rises,
and gathers strength and courage as the day gets on.”
– charles dickens
on glen lake, empire, michigan, usa – april 2023
north manistee, michigan lighthouse pier
As days drag on and the sun still sets relatively early, you may be left wondering are the days truly getting longer? The short answer is, yes. But only by a few minutes. Each day in January we average an extra 2 minutes from the day prior.
By the end of February, we can expect an additional two hours and 30 minutes. February 28’s sunrise is at 7:20 A.M. And the sunset is at 6:30 P.M. The first 6 o’clock sunset of the year arrives on February 5.
As we ease closer to our longest day, June 21, we’ll gain an additional 6 hours and 41 minutes of daylight. The longest day of the year, the summer solstice on June 21, is 15 hours and 21 minutes long.
We’re on our way!
“run for daylight.”
credits: wxyz-tv detroit, isabella hulsizer, photo: john l. russell
picture from a past solstice celebration
one of my favorite things to teach and share with my class
is the story and traditions of the winter solstice
i get to play the sun
the children play the tilting earth and the seasons
who spin and dance and throw snow
as the season changes
the sun stays in the middle
offering extra light
to the other side of the earth now tilting toward it
knowing it will always return to them
even as our days grow shorter
they quietly rest on the ground
only to emerge
when the time is right
happy to dance once more
in the light of the warm spring sun.
*notes: here is my recipe for the winter solstice, and many thanks to all for your low-tech special effects support of this performance: torn paper snowflakes made by the children, many smiles, a bit of dizziness, a sun doing an interpretive dance, a person to turn off and on the classroom lights at just the right moment, a flashlight, a yellow paper sun, a dj to play the music (‘carol of the bells’ by george winston, and ‘here comes the sun’ by the beatles) at just the right time, and a class full of kinder/whirling twirling planets throwing snow, lying down, and awakening as emerging new life in the spring when the sun returns. somehow it all falls into place, each year a bit differently, as is the way of the world.
“spiritually, life is a festival, a celebration. joy is the essence of life.”
It’s hard not to see, but admittedly if someone wasn’t watching for the phenomenon that unfolded Friday morning, they could have definitely missed it. This does call into question what it means to be seeing the sun. According to the website timeanddate.com, while the claim is technically true, the number of people perceiving sunlight is a bit lower – about 93% of the world’s population.
apricity – the warmth of the sun in the winter.
this term comes from the latin meaning “to bask in the sun.”
source: google images
as our temps take a dip into the zero-ish range,
it is good to remember the importance of connection,
the joy of giving to others, and the comfort of the sun.
“it is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake,
the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam.
this crisp winter air is full of it.”
~john burroughs, “Winter Sunshine”
painting by: francesca rizzato – ‘Winter’s Tale’