Monday, December 12, 2011

Where are you, Daylight?

As most of you know, my husband & I recently relocated to Seattle, Washington.  We are still both out of work, so we've just been trying to hang in there and keep up hope that God will provide jobs for us, especially my husband Eric. 
But, despite our financial and job woes, we still absolutely LOVE living in the Seattle area!  The winter weather here is not nearly as cold as Ohio winters, which is such a huge blessing!  I had grown to abhor the bitterly cold Ohio winters, where it was so incredibly cold that it physically hurt to step outside.  Forget trying to actually DO anything outdoors in the winter!  It was simply too cold to spend any length of time outside.  But not so here.  Don't get me wrong; it still gets down in the low 30's here, but there's hardly ever any wind, and the sun has been shining a surprising amount lately, which helps immensely! 
The above picture was from a summer visit to the Seattle area last summer, when we drove to Mt. Rainier National Park.  This amazing valley view was along the way, and we pulled off to the side of the road to absorb the amazingness of the view.  Do you see that little blob in the upper left-hand corner of the shot?  Yeah, that's a helicopter.  Just so you understand the coolness captured in that moment.  :)
Here in the Pacific Northwest, in the winter, the sun sets at around 4:30 in the afternoon.  Yes, you read that right.  Four-thirty in the afternoon, folks.  In Ohio, the winter sun would set around 8 or so, but here, it sets almost four hours earlier!  The sun sets before dinnertime!  I'm not gonna lie; it's freaky as heck!  That is just something I will have to get used to, I suppose. 
I do wonder, though, if native Pacific-Northwesterners realize how utterly insane and unnatural it is for the sun to set that early.  In most of the country, the sun sets in an actual "evening" hour, like 7, or 8, or 9 o'clock at night.  But here?  4:30pm. 
But it IS normal for this area, and I think I understand the basic reasons:  it all has to do with the angle of the sun in the sky viewed from the Pacific Northwest.  Because this area is so far north, the sun never rises very high in the sky during the winter months, so it does not take much for it to drop back down below the skyline in the evening.  *Sheesh!*  It's weird, right????
Oh, it gets better.  In the summer months, the sun rises at around 4 o'clock in the morning.  That is freakishly early!  But at least that makes it so that the sun does not set until freakishly late, like around 10pm. 
From a Midwesterner's perspective, there is some FREAKY weather goin' on 'round here!!!
And from the point of view of someone who desires to be productive, that means that there are very few hours in the day of sunlight.  Very few hours to get stuff done that you want to get done, especially if it means being outdoors, driving, or needing the sunlight to help you stay alert and focused. 
This absence of sunshine constantly reminds me that life is passing me by and that I have only a limited time to be productive and do the things I want to do.  It's a very "Carpe Diem" mindset, I know, but I appreciate it because it keeps me motivated to "seize the day" and make the most of my time, and live in the moment, and all that jazz. 
I hear Robin William's husky voice whispering in my ear from over my shoulder, "Carpe Diem!  Carpe Diem!" 
**(extra coolness points to whoever knows what movie I'm referencing!)**
As I finish this post, it is 4:15pm, and the sky is darkening.  "Goodbye, Mr. Sun!  See you tomorrow!"  :) 


  1. huh, I guess I'm so used to the early sunset that I never thought much about it. Chicago's winter sun also sets around 4:30, so it's not so much of a difference for just *is* awful cold. Though so far this winter's been relatively mild.

  2. I grew up in MN and now live in Alaska, so I definitely know what you are talking about in terms of short days! We have about 5.5 hours of daylight right now with the sun rising at 10 a.m. and setting at 3:30 p.m. I don't like it in the summer either because I can't sleep; I constantly feel as if I'm in a "manic" state.

    I also hate the coldness of winter and have often wondered if I would do okay in the rainy Pacific NW but after reading this I feel more confident I would. I haven't been able to do very much running at all this winter because of the cold, snow, and ice. Plus we've only had ONE sunny day this month and it isn't like there is a lot of sun during the summer either. (At least I don't think so. Others would probably disagree with me on this.)

    Praying you and your husband find jobs soon!

  3. Thank you both so much for the comments! Almost everyday I find something new to marvel at concerning the differences between the Pacific Northwest and Ohio. I've heard Alaska is beautiful but brutal! I don't know how you do it when the sun doesn't rise until 10am! Crazy! I really like your blog, by the way, Ms. Plate. :)