The sunsets have started getting later again. Where I live, in Daytona Beach, Florida, USA, sunsets hit “peak earliness” for a period from late November through December 10, when the sun set at 5:26 every day. On December 11, sunset here was at 5:27pm and it has been getting later ever since. Ever so slightly and gradually, sunlit afternoons are once again expanding.
Dark winter mornings continue as the sunrises are still getting later. Sunrise will hit “peak lateness” here in January. The “peak lateness” time here is 7:19, and the sun will be rising at that time every day from January 3 through January 19. On January 20 it will rise at 7:18 here, and the sunrise time gets earlier from here out.
The actual shortest day of 2018 was of course Friday, December 21 — the Winter Solstice.
This is my favorite sunrise/sunset calendar site that I’ve found so far. To get started, you input your city or ZIP code. Along with getting sunrise/sunset times, you can also get it to display other times such as “civil twilight”, moonrise and moonset, etc. I particularly like this site because it lets you see a month at a glance, in visual calendar format.
Awareness of sunrise and sunset times (maybe not the precise minutes, but the general patterns) is natural to anyone who spends time outdoors at those hours. Same with the moon phases. But many people in the modern industrial world do not have that opportunity. Living a low-footprint life has allowed me more free time and energy to stay in touch with the rhythms of day and night. In the routine of everyday living, I still lose track sometimes though, which is why I love these calendar sites so much! I feel depleted and unmoored when I lose track of the daily and seasonal rhythms of nature.
I really believe it’s good for our health (physical and emotional) to stay in touch with natural rhythms of the days and seasons. It’s something a person can do even in the most dense, crowded city. And even if you work in an office, you might be able to arrange to be near a window at certain times of day.
Keeping in touch with nature’s rhythms costs nothing; it brings beauty into our lives; and it gives a topic of conversation that can be shared with anyone. You know, like the weather! Observational chat about sunrises and sunsets, moonrises/moonsets, the changing length of the days, the changing angle of the sun, and so on is actually a great way to bond with neighbors and build community, I’ve found. And verbalizing these observations to the folks around us is an unobtrusive way to expand everyone’s awareness of natural rhythms.