Friday, February 12, 2016

Five More Minutes

Believe me when I tell you that I know what five minutes feels like. Five minutes is the difference between picking my kids up in daylight and picking them up in dim twilight. Five minutes in the difference between seeing the sun before I go into work and only seeing it when I go out to get the mail.

Alaska has been gaining daylight- oh, so slowly- since December 22. At that time, in Anchorage, the sunrise was at 10:15 am and the sunset was at 3:43 pm. Now, though, is when we begin to feel the light gain. What was a gasp of additional seconds of light is now a gulping five minutes of additional light. And it is AMAZING!

In my first years in Alaska, I lived in Nome. We used to have "sunrise" Advent services... at 11:15 am. The sun was gone, gone, gone by 3:30 pm. It became nearly unbearable and then... like the Beatles say, "Here Comes the Sun".

Even when you are used to the dark, it is still frustrating to never see much light. The lukewarm light of noon on a cloudy day when pitch darkness will be back in 3 hours is not only not comforting, it's practically insulting.

Many Alaskans who can go Outside (leave Alaska) for some sunshine, somewhere, anywhere. Most of us know that we need more Vitamin D and we take capsules, mix powers, and use special lamps. Our recent horrible winters (much ice, little snow) have made it more difficult for those of us who are casual winter athletes to get outside. Ice-slick ski paths and slippery playgrounds mean it is nearly impossible just to go for a short, casual walk or run to the swings and slide.

So, ice bound darkness (which may be what you always thought Alaska was) is frustrating for many. Additionally, the ice does not reflect the limited light in the same way that snow does. Reflected moonlight, headlights, and flashlights off snow make driving, walking, and playing easier. The ice seems to absorb the light and makes the dark even darker.

So, back to five minutes, we're gaining seconds more of daylight each day. By March 1st, we will be over ten hours of daylight and gaining not quite six minutes a day. This is the time of year when the light increase really makes a difference.

I'm sure there's a spiritual metaphor in here somewhere- five minutes of Christ-light (through you) can make a huge difference in someone's day- in its overall brightness and bearability.

I won't belabor that point, because I need to go out and enjoy today's extra five minutes. It's five more minutes of easier driving, of Vitamin D, of seeing the sun on the faces of my children, of remembering that winter is not forever. 

1 comment:

gena g. said...

Love this. Real and hopefilled. :)