Winter Solstice – Here Comes the Sun

December 1st

Sunrise 8:20 am    |  Sunset 3:12 pm                           Day Length 6:52

Six hours and 52 minutes.  That is how long the sun timidly graces us with it’s presence by the first of December in Östergotland Sweden.  Six hours.  Fifty two minutes.  A time period during which we have no guarantee that the sun will actually make an appearance as gray and overcast skies dominate the winter months.  

Snow brings a welcome relief, reflecting feeble sunshine and manmade light alike and making the days feel brighter and less oppressive. The atmospheric glow of streetlights offers a semblance of warmth in the dark.  The rhythm of life adapting to the subtle cadence of sunrise and sunset. Amid the seemingly endless nights, hope and light still flicker on the horizon.

December 22nd

Sunrise 8:46am   |  Sunset 15:05 pm                              Day Length  6:19

On December 22nd, the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice holds a promise of change. On this day, the sun provides a mere six and 19 minutes of light, marking the longest night of the year. It’s a day that encapsulates the zenith of darkness, and has captivated civilizations and cultures all around the world for millenia. 

 This dance with darkness is a testament to the Earth’s axial tilt, the phenomenon that creates the seasonal changes that come with the growing darkness and brighter days ahead.  During winter, the Northern Hemisphere leans away from the sun, resulting in shorter days and longer nights. As the solstice approaches, this tilt reaches its zenith, and the sun’s daily arc across the sky is minimized, leading to the longest night of the year.

As the Winter Solstice unfolds, a subtle shift occurs. While the sun’s appearance on this day is brief, its significance is all the more profound. From this point forward, the days will gradually extend, ushering in a slow but sure retreat of winter’s grip. The solstice becomes a turning point, a celestial promise that brighter days are on the horizon. 

January 1st

Sunrise 8:46 am | Sunset 3:15 pm                              Day Length 6:28

The New Year often brings with it a symbolic sense of renewal, but the changes it promise have already begun. The day now stretches for only nine minutes longer than it did on the solstice, but it is a subtle shift that welcomes in a brighter change.  The air feels crisper, brighter.  And the city, though still under winter’s sway, begins to stir with newfound vitality. 

 

February 1st

Sunrise 8:05 | Sunset 6:17 pm                                 Day Length 8:12

 Come February, the change is palpable. Days have lengthened by nearly two hours since the solstice, as the sun generously graces the Northern hemisphere with more and more of its radiant light. Snow-laden streets, once hushed by winter’s grip, now resonate with the sounds of life awakening. A subtle warmth begins to pervade the air, signaling the gradual retreat of winter.  In the words of George Harrison:

 

“Here comes the sun, and I say it’s all right.” 

The return of the sun, though gradual, is a cause for celebration. Cities, once cloaked in darkness, now bask in the growing light, reminding residents that even in the coldest times, warmth and brightness persist, patiently waiting to rekindle hope.

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