I have lived back in Canada for a year now. As it snows outside my bedroom window and I type from my cocoon like bed along side a kitten we recently acquired, life at this moment is perfect. I haven’t spoken about winter yet this season so below is an attempt to describe how I think about my days lately. It’s tough because this is known information for most who live in Edmonton or other northern cities but this way of life is not everyone’s because the further you live from the equator the less people there are inhabiting the earth. Therefor, it’s not common knowledge.
Lately I been waking up before my alarm and I have no idea what time it is. I try to guess but I am at a loss. Is it midnight? 3 am? Do I have time to go back to sleep? I check the clock. Hell no. It’s 7:00 am. As soon as time passes the 5 pm mark this time of the year the sky looks almost the same until about 8 am. Dark. That’s because sunsets and sunrises this time of the year pass quickly so there is very little change in the darkness. Winter Solstice was on December 21 in 2014 (the shortest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere) so while we are now on an upswing for daylight extension, it is a long road to Summer Solstice on June 21st. Today the sun rose at 8:41am and will set at 4:35 pm.
If you pay attention to the landscape around 8 am things start to dramatically change because of the sunrise. Generally during the day the sky is grey and the snow is mostly white so the shades of grey around this time of year are truly beautiful. I think if you lived in the desert you would have the same appreciation for a monochromatic environment. But once you add a mix of sunrise or sunset, you can get some beautiful soft pinks, yellow and purples in there. Sunrises are a delight any time of the year, but the addition of bright colours in a climate that has a lack thereof during the winter is always a benefit.
Usually it’s pretty sunny during the day (Alberta is lucky that way) but today it’s a snowy overcast day. Only a few hours left until it reaches darkness again and the stillness of the night. The location of the sun this time of year is at a lower angle so the shadows are longer and move quicker because of the short daylight hours. Other than temperature, sounds and lighting vastly differ between a winter and summer night. The snow is a great insulator so sounds around you become muffled or crisp. The snow also acts as a bounce and reflects brightness into the atmosphere. So even though it is dark in the night-time, there is a purple haze/glow that you can see as your eyes transition from the snowy landscape to the heavens above.