Saturday, August 14, 2021

The Swifter Changes

This is the sunrise from last Thursday. It was a rare cloudy day here in southern Alberta, but that’s not the point of the photograph. I took it while I was bicycling to work, which means dawn was breaking just at that moment. It seems less than a month before that the sun had been already a sixth or so of its journey across the sky by that time of day.

Every year, I experience the same phenomenon: that the days appear to shorten after the summer solstice much more swiftly than they lengthen before it. The days get lighter slower in the mornings and darker faster at night in the year’s second half than they did the opposite in the year’s first. If you know what I mean.

I won’t say that I am sorry to see the summer wane. I enjoyed its advent. The spring, with its increasing light and warmth, becomes still lighter and warmer, the nights are pleasant and balmy, their moonlight appears something from a story. But then, the trees’ leaves which are bright and fresh in May turn dull and waxy; the air heats tremendously with soaring temperatures; it sits stagnant or blows with a dirty, hot force like an Egyptian khamsin. Reinforced this year with the smoke from hundreds of horrible forest fires, the summer literally stank.

But I am being particular. This summer was regrettable in its meteorology, and I hope for better things from autumn. Even so, in general, the stunted days mean another season is ending, more months gone; all disappeared in a matter of days, it seems. Soon, I will be riding to work in the dark, and going home in the dark, too. The world has a schedule to keep that’s more rigid than any human routine, and it won’t be distracted.

I just wish it would dally in increasing its darkness as much as it seemed to when it came to increasing its light.


  1. I am seeing the results of earlier sunsets, by 9 pm I can now see
    bats flying and the birds have stopped singing. I most dread the dark
    and gloom of winter months, they just get me down with no sunshine.
    Of course it means dressing like an Eskimo to walk instead of the
    freedom of summer wear on the bike. I don't envy you the winter
    bike ride to work at all, first it's for work, and second it is too

  2. Yes, the days have grown shorter, but I don't mind it. I really don't enjoy summer. When the temperature gets above 65 degrees, I complain - loudly!! My favorite season is fall with all of the beautiful colors. But here in Philly we get fall for about 5 minutes.

  3. Same here, we sure notice the change and so does our feral family.

  4. Just as you say goodbye to the sun and heat we are beginning to see the signs of spring as the brightness returns and there is some warmth ax you stand in the sun.

  5. You're so right. We've been remarking about the days getting shorter, too.

  6. We're loosing 14mins a week over here,
    Summer coming to an end, though September
    has always been a favourite month, my
    birthday month in fact..a month l always
    used to spend back home in Sicily..! :)
    And, apparently July has been the hottest
    month around the plant..! :(.

    So, don't forget to carry spare candles
    in your saddle~bag John..just in case
    one goes out..! Bless! :).

  7. I noticed the changes a few weeks after the summer solstice; it wasn't quite as light when I would get up and now, of course, it's dark. I don't mind the waning light as much as I mind the approaching winter ice and snow, the lack of green nature around me. And I feel that I could bear winter so much more easily if it were only a month or two long, not five, give or take.

  8. I get up at 5 a.m., so I've been noticing that very thing, too. It always makes me a bit sad when the days start getting visibly shorter.

  9. I agree with Kea. Winter would be so much easier to bear if it was only a few months long. I don't envy your ride on the bike in winter. You should receive a medal for your courage and endurance!

    1. Last winter wasn't bad, if I recall correctly (and that's rarely the case), as there wasn't much precipitation. We could use some, certainly, but I'd prefer it as rain. I hope the autumn is a wet one. (That's a different kind of fun to ride through!)

  10. I agree, the darker evenings arrive much more quickly than the light evenings of spring. I will miss summer. It has mostly forgotten us this year. We did have an unusually hot spell in March when it should be cold and windy. April brought torrents of rain followed by abnormally low temperatures in May. Ever since it has been cold and wet with the odd few decent days thrown in. When they forecast a heatwave they forget about us down in the Southwest. The end of July struggled to reach 50F but most days now we are managing 60F. If only we could have a couple of dry days too!

  11. We have noticed the changes here but as we are lower latitudes it is not as pronounced. It is somewhat nice that the heat is leaving but we do not look forward to the cold. September is nice here and we look forward to it

  12. I'm tired of the heat and smoke too. I've just started to notice the change in the daylight hours. Solar lights that used to be lit up brightly at night, aren't catching the sun's rays as long in the day and barely light up as dusk approaches. But like Kim, I'd sure appreciate if winter didn't last as long as it seems too. I need the time outdoors, and unlike you, I couldn't imagine bicycling to work or even walking in the snow and ice.

  13. Yup, the seasons marked by the sun's movements, actually the earth's...anyways it keeps marching and spinning along. I used to begin hearing birds at about 430 am, but now only about 6am.

    And I cannot do garden /yard chores after 830pm, while back in our July holidays times, they had to wait till 10pm to get the full darkness needed for fireworks.

    The only good thing, is with the dusk coming earlier each night, it gets a bit easier to convince our dementia residents at my work, that its time to go to bed...'See, Its dark o'clock!'