Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Shortest days

I know you do not need me to tell you that all the religions in world history have some kind of rebirth/light thing this time of year. There, I told you anyway.

When I was a child, the shortest days meant waiting for the school bus in the dark & getting home from school barely before dusk. & that was only if you did not have detention. Or whatever might put you on the 'late bus'.

Now shortest days means more time outside, in the sun. Most of the year, the sun is too much for me & my lily white skin. I have been an avid consumer of SPF45 ever since I moved to New Jersey (it was not that the ozone layer is thinner there, but that I was more up-close-&-personal with suntan victims circa 1990; I still have nightmares), but I manage to get at least one sunburn every year. This time of year, though, it is never as bad.

Perhaps there is something to that whole earth moving around the sun in an elliptical orbit, etc. Anyhow, the sun is not as strong & does not last as long & mostly that is OKay with me.

There are only a few downsides (for me, remember this is about me). The horses get very confused about when they should be fed. I try to keep it to every 12 hours, but that means that one of these will be in the dark. They stand at the back gate waiting for me to get out there every night for at least an hour. There is no convincing them that sundown is not dinnertime.

Also, the chickens stop laying, or at least slow down. Sometimes they will start up again by New Years, but somehow I do not think this will be one of those years. I will be lucky to see eggs by March.

I consider these more-than-fair trades for the real upside to these shortest days down south: A is happier. He is the last person to admit those long dark days bummed him out, but they did. Here it is rare for him to leave before dawn (although not uncommon for him to return after sunset). He has breakfast every morning in a room with wall-to-wall windows on three sides & there is no doubt it is a better start to his day.

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