Well good morning, and welcome to the best day of the year. Today is the winter solstice, the shortest (in reality, one of the shortest) days of the year. In a matter of days we’ll be starting the long journey back to right. Because this, as we all know, isn’t right. Get up in the dark, go home in the dark. Get a few things done outside on the weekend and before you know it, it’s dark.
But better days are ahead. According to various official websites, we’ll still lose a few more minutes in the morning in the next few days, with sunrise continuing to get later by a minute or so through the end of the month, but on Monday we gain a minute at the end of the day and by New Year’s Eve day we will have gained seven minutes from today. I’m not a morning person, though my days start earlier than the typical work day, so I really don’t care what happens in the morning — not in November, December, January and February anyway. But it certainly is good to be past this milestone of the year.
I realize there are pressing local issues that one might expect to read about in this space — the vote against closing Bradford elementary in Westerly, the status of our local hospital, the workings of town councils and boards of selectmen on both sides of the river — but I’m a realist. I know that for 9 out of 10 readers, it’s the weather that counts most, and at this time of year — the darkest time of year — this forced hibernation is a topic for many.
When I whine about it, I’m told all this dark and cold makes us appreciate spring and summer more.
Nice concept, but who needs any encouragement to appreciate a balmy 8:30 p.m. sunset? Which is when the sun did set last June 21, the longest day of the year and, in my clearly negative view of things, the worst day of the year since it’s all downhill from there in my book. Once June 22 hits you might as well get the tarps out for the boats. Enjoy your golf and tennis while you can and savor those long walks on the beach at sunset because the dark clock starts ticking before summer even gets rolling.
And while better days are ahead, we still have plenty of darkness to get through yet despite my celebration of passing the winter solstice milestone.
This whole heavy, dark atmosphere carries over to the news as well.
We’ve hit the end of all those cute photos of elementary school kids at their Christmas events and the real little ones sitting wide-eyed with Santa. Now it’s town budget season and board of finance headlines. The excitement leading up to the Thanksgiving Day football games seems as though it was six months ago, when it was less than a month ago.
If there’s any light at the end of this long, dark tunnel I’ve painted myself into it’s that we tend to work ahead in this business. We’ll soon start getting press releases about the annual spring and summer events, the Pawcatuck River Duck Race in April, Virtu on Memorial Day weekend, The Relay for Life in June and early reminders for summer camp registration. We were getting information about winter events in the fall, which means I can look forward to those reminders of spring and summer soon after the excitement of Christmas and New Year’s wanes and we’re dumped into the bleak, boring month of January.
Oh yeah...I’m just a barrel of laughs to be around this time of year.
David Tranchida is editor of The Sun.