‘One season following the other, laden with happiness and tears.’
So go the lyrics from Fiddler on the Roof. And we’ve all certainly experienced the happiness and tears over the last year. Some things don’t change though, and it is nature’s constancies that have helped keep me going during the coronavirus pandemic. The seasons, the tides, the phases of the moon, all these patterns help me remember I’m part of something much bigger (and far more important) than myself.
Although they shift their times through the year, sunrise and sunset are two of my favourite natural constancies. I love to rise with the sun, and tend towards semi-hibernation as it gets dark. And it isn’t just the long days of the summer solar set up that I love. For example, it’s far easier to capture fantastic sunrise photos in the winter when you don’t have to get up at five in the morning to do so.
Sunrise, sunset – feelings and facts
I’ve been enjoying my sunrise walks and swims so much over the last few weeks I thought I would look into the topic more. Here are my interesting facts about sunrise and sunset (on planet Earth, I’ve yet to experience a sunrise swim on Mars).
- The name of the line that separates day and night is called ‘the Terminator’ (if you want to be rescued by AI from the future ) or ‘the Twilight Zone’ (if you like stories that appear to have been written by AI).
- There is always more daylight than darkness on the earth. This isn’t just me being optimistic, it’s because the Earth’s atmosphere bends the sunlight thus increasing it’s area allocation
- Both the moon and the sun have an impact on the tides. Spring (extra high and low) tides occur at new and full moons, when the sun, moon and earth are in alignment
- If you want to see the world’s first sunrise of a new day (from land) head to Samoa in the Pacific Ocean (autumn and winter) or Gisborne in New Zealand (spring and summer). Or you could opt for summer in either the Arctic or Antarctica (this would be cheating mind you because technically the sun doesn’t rise or set there at these times). An easier (and less debated) trip for most of us would be a visit to Ness Point in Lowestoft where you’ll be able to feel the sun on your face before anyone else in the UK
- Dawn is a lovely girl but also that dim and sometimes colourful time just before sunrise. Twilight would be an unusual name for a child but is the evening equivalent between sunset and dark. Both times are shorter near to the Equator and longer near to the Poles
- I can’t listen to the lyrics of ‘Sunrise Sunset’ from Fiddler on the Roof without crying. Actual sunsets and sunrises have a similar impact.
‘Swiftly fly the years.’
PS My birthday is on January 29th. By most excellent coincidence that will be the first day this year that Mr D and I will be able to go for our now traditional work-from-home, 5 o’clock round-the-block walk before the sun sets.