Longest Night, Then More Light

Soon the sun grows stronger

Tomorrow morning at 12:30 a.m., Winter Solstice occurs. From that point until Summer Solstice in June, our daylight hours will lengthen.

But for the first month or so after Winter Solstice, it’s hard to believe the sun is winning against the darkness. Hanging low as it treks across the sky, its rays are feeble. Take, for example, the above photo that Wonder Spouse shot last week.

Those are the eastern woods just behind the creek that bounds our property. One of our all-too-brief cold spells had chilled the ground. Warm, moist air returning on a south wind met cold earth; mists were born. Sunrise was a battle between cold ground, warm air, and a weak sun.

A half hour later, the sun surrendered, disappearing behind yet another bank of thick clouds. Today, the sun made no appearance at all. A warm (60+ degrees Fahrenheit) rain softly patters on the roof. These false spring rains are predicted to continue for several days. I expect the Spring Peepers will be fooled into a tentative chorus or two before the cold returns late this week.

Before today’s rain, I took advantage of this latest bit of un-December weather to rake and relocate yet more leaves. And I transplanted some wildflowers. I found a Hearts-A-Burstin’ plant struggling against severe deer predation beneath a large red maple on my floodplain. It is now safely relocated within the part of my yard enclosed by deer fencing. Likewise, some Cranefly Orchids huddling unappreciated along an old fence line are now tucked into better spots.

The soft, warm rains will settle in the transplants, allowing roots to regroup, stretch out, and wait for the sun to win its battle with the darkness. I will try to follow their example, cultivating patience, dreaming of spring’s return.

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