Off the Grid: Here Comes the Sun!Viki Mather February 1, 2012
February is a most wonderful month. Because of the LIGHT! Gone are the dark days of November and December. It is colder, yes. Minus 31ºC at my house sometimes, but brighter than those grey days of late autumn. At long last, the SUN returns!
At six in the morning there are already hints of daybreak on the eastern horizon. This early dawn brings a spark of optimism for the longer days to come. Very faint pastels of creamy yellow and blue give promise of a sunny day.
As the minutes tick by, a smattering of clouds can be seen. Their bottoms turn pink near the eastern sky, and fade to a deep blue-grey across to the west. Slowly, slowly they drift in the high northern breeze.
By seven it’s bright enough to go out for a walk on the lake. I love winter! With lots of ice underfoot, I can step out my door and go anywhere – everywhere! The only downside is the 10 minutes it takes to get dressed in layer upon layer of wool and down, mitts and boots, coat and scarf.
These really cold mornings bring new beauty to the landscape. Moisture from the warmer air of yesterday precipitates on each and every needle of the pines along the shoreline. Lovely frosted trees grace the islands. And frost crystalizes on my eyebrows as my breath freezes in the morning chill.
By 7:30 the sky is brilliant. The skinny clouds overhead are salmon-pink. To the west they remain furry-grey, waiting for the sun to reach across the sky. Ravens waken, and call out to each other, breaking the silence of the day.
Yellow turns to white as the clouds in the east catch the sun. The creamy-salmon-pink spreads across the sky to the west, where the thin popcorn clouds become a brilliant pink and blue. And beyond the clouds, the western sky is a deep blue curve – the Earth’s shadow on the atmosphere as the sun rises slowly, reaching toward the horizon behind me. Soon the top of the sun appears between the trees on the eastern shore. A deep yellow-orange ball of light slowly, slowly moves higher and higher, as though it was hiding in the forest, and just now came out to stay for the day.
On the coldest days of February, the sun will shine for 10 hours and more. Each day now brings us nearly three more minutes of sun. And the long dawn and dusk will give us a couple more hours of daylight. Whoohooo! The dark days are gone!