We've been descending deeper and deeper into the darkest part of the year, waking to a sky without a hint of dawn and watching the day end by mid-afternoon. Late fall in the Northwest feels like an endurance test to those of us who need sunlight, and November seems to crawl along like the driver in front of you when you're late to work.
Somehow I got distracted by work and the holidays this year and didn't keep my annual vigil at the calendar, counting down the days until today. Today and tomorrow we'll have 8 hours, 25 minutes and 23 seconds of daylight -- the shortest days of the year -- and this afternoon's lemony sunshine casting knobbly tree branch shadows against the house next door reflects the relief I feel at our climb out of the hole, no matter how long it's going to take. By Dec. 25, we'll have gained 34 seconds. By Dec. 27, a minute and 25 seconds.
Slow going, but a satisfaction.
It's going to be perfect evening to watch the sun go down on the shortest day on the calendar, something we don't always get to do. Bundle up the kids, and head for Puget Sound -- it's quiet, it's cheap, and it's easy -- and reflect on the coming winter.
And then remember that winter's coming, but we have longer days ahead.
Watch the sun set at 4:20 p.m. at Solstice Park in West Seattle, Wednesday, Dec. 21.
Take a luminary-lit walk along the Snohomish River Trail on Thursday, Dec. 22.