Friday, October 30, 2015

Goodbye to late-afternoon sunshine

Today is the last day that we will be able to do anything outside after work. At 5 o'clock this afternoon, there will be plenty of light for yard work, neighborhood walks, running or just sitting on the deck to watch the sun go down. On Monday when we leave work at 5 o'clock, the sun will have set, and the darkness will be spreading through the neighborhood like a fresh coffee stain on carpet.

The darkness will inhibit walking or running without a reflective vest or a light to catch the attention of vehicular traffic. Darkness will make leisurely walks less appealing and runs more hazardous. We will lose more than an hour of light as we "fall back" Sunday morning, we will lose the opportunity to do things — chores such as grass mowing or leaf raking, leisurely things such as pleasant walks, outdoor concerts, a game of catch or hoops, or simply sitting and taking in the view.

And then there is the cold. It's not here yet, but you know it's coming. Shorter days bring less of the sun's radiation and less warmth. Autumn's cool breezes are welcome after August's heat, but those breezes will soon turn angry and frigid, and we will huddle indoors in the artificial light. What sunlight there is will be low and harsh.

Daylight Savings Time ends this weekend. The artificial extra hour in the evening will be gone, and our clocks will more closely follow the sun's path. The "spring forward" of six months ago gave us an unrealistic concept of time, and we will be forced back into reality Sunday morning. Goodbye to late afternoon outdoor activities, until the day when we "spring forward" to capture an artificial extra hour of sunlight.


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