We are half-way through winter. Actually, we are two weeks past the midpoint (January 15, 2018) of meteorological winter (December 1 to February 28, 2018), but a few days from the midpoint of astronomical winter (December 21, 2017 to March 20, 2018). However way you look at it, we are just around the halfway point, and looking at the backside of winter—although it does not yet appear this way.
While some adults like winter, I am not part of this group, since I no longer skate and have never taken up downhill or cross-country skiing or snowshoeing; similarly, I have never owned a pair of mukluks. I do, however own a Russian fur hat (ushanka), which I wear on the coldest of days. My fond recollections of winter rest in childhood memories from the 1960s in and around Montreal’s Mont-Royal, “the mountain.”
I now welcome winter’s end, its temporary demise, and look for signs of its dismissal from Canada, at least for a short while—a respite from the cold and dark dreary days. There are also feelings of being shut in. While it still remains cold, and the first week of February is often the coldest of the year, there is encouraging signs, such as the days becoming noticeably longer. This is always a good thing to beat the winter doldrums—more daylight.
Today in Toronto, for example, sunrise is at 7:35 a.m. and sunset at 5:27 p.m., thus totaling 9 hours and 52 minutes of daylight—almost a full hour more than the beginning of the month. The end of next month will bring another hour of daylight and so on till June’s summer solstice. There is something encouraging in seeing and knowing that the days are becoming longer, that more light is making its way to us.
Today is also a rare event: the second full moon of January (a Blue Moon), coinciding with a Super Moon (the moon is at the closest point to Earth) and a total lunar eclipse. Joe Rao for Space.com writes (“Get Ready for the ‘Super Blue Blood Moon’ Eclipse of Jan. 31!; January 19, 2018): “Interestingly, this will be the first time in over 150 years (since March 31, 1866, to be exact) that a total lunar eclipse will coincide with a Blue Moon in North America.”
That’s enough excitement for one day.
I am taking a short winter break and will return in mid-February.