On Wednesday, 21 December, at 10:44 GMT, the Winter Solstice comes to the Northern Hemisphere. It is the shortest day of the year, but this only means that the world is now turning towards the morning. It only gets lighter from here.
This may seem overly optimistic, but it is true. The biggest problem with this kind of faith is that when we are at the lowest point we also are changing the least. Light will return, yes, but slowly at first.
What is even less obvious at this time of darkness is that the dark is exactly what we make of it.
Winter is supposed to be cold up here in the frozen North. November? Not so much. But the patterns that have brought unbelievably cold air directly from the Arctic and lifted Lake Erie into a frozen cloud that buried Buffalo are abating. Next week should be warmer, and the weeks after that perhaps better as well.
The reason? The Jet Stream, which has been hardly functioning for many years, appears to be re-forming. There is always a lot of speculation as to why, without a lot of solid assurances, but the trend is our friend. Let’s hope that what we see coming next week becomes the pattern.
When in doubt, you can always talk about the weather in polite Minnesota conversation. Days like today, when we are expected to have yet another big winter storm and the potential for Olympic Ice Dancing on the roads, it’s a topic you can count on. It’s not controversial but it provides a nearly endless supply of entertainment much like driving a flaming bus through a wall of televisions, at least in the sense that it’s likely to be lethal.
Many of us learn to be fascinated by the weather in ways that seek awkward and geeky to people in other parts of the nation. That’s a shame because a hard study of weather is a form of meditation that can clear your mind like no other form. Plus, it’s on teevee. Here in the middle of a vast continent we are at the mercy of whatever blows our way. It’s something that everyone can talk about – even if no one does anything about it.