The Shortest Day

Dark mornings are anathema to me. I am an owl, not a lark. Happily, since I became self-employed, I have usually been able to choose what time I get out of bed in the morning and most of the time in the past twenty-odd years I’ve had the luxury and privilege of staying snuggled up until the sun has risen and the outside world is clearly visible. Electric light in the mornings hurts my eyes, though I’ll cheerfully stay up until the wee small hours without it having any perceptible effect in the evenings.

Anyway, as today is the shortest day, even though I was awake before sunrise, I refused on principle to get up until I could see the fingers on my watch, and that was at 08.15. Null-acht-fünfzehn. In German, apart from being the time, that phrase refers to something very run-of-the-mill (and that’s a nice phrase, too, in English). Is that an augury for the day?

In my experience the shortest day, 21 December, is usually dull and dreary. It’s a day that always makes me heartily glad that I don’t live in Scandinavia, especially inside the Arctic Circle. Midnight sun and aurora borealis are no compensation for six months of twilight. Today, though, the sun did manage to peep through the heavy layer of clouds and drive away the miserable drizzle that made the morning so gloomy. And so it hasn’t been too bad: a visit to the hairdresser’s which is a good morale booster, a pub lunch, and a stroll home by the scenic route, a route I haven’t taken for at least twenty years but which still looks exactly the same, with the sun shining just long enough and brightly enough to make it a pleasant outing.

It’s now almost four pm, the sun has set and the clouds have returned, so let’s put the kettle on and have a decent cuppa with a mince-pie and some clotted cream.

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2 thoughts on “The Shortest Day

  1. You introduced me to the mince pie decades ago and I cannot have any without thinking of you. I quite enjoy a small one in the afternoon and find that tea is a must with it.

  2. Lovely, wish I was there with you!
    Lene at http://www.lenealve.blogspot.com/ is in Rovaniemi in Finland, somewhere in the Arctic Circle, and has been charting the shortening of the days during Advent – she was down to 2 hours and 7 minutes of daylight yesterday… I find myself hoping her days will lengthen soon, too – I can’t imagine so little day and so much night 😮

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