In praise of shorter days

One of the things most people like best about summer is the long days, with hours of sunshine after work in which to play outside. I have to admit, though, that I get a little edgy around the summer solstice because the days where I live (near a time-zone dividing line) are so long that it throws everything off.

In late June, the sun comes up around 6 a.m. and sets around 9:30 p.m. We are far enough north that the twilight is long, with some light in the sky until nearly 11 p.m. I know, it’s not like I live in Alaska where the sun never sets in the summer (which is good, because I’d lose my mind living there), but I still find the late sunsets here difficult because the sun slants into my bedroom right across the pillows on my bed after 9 p.m. Since I was a kid, going to sleep while the sun is shining has been anathema to me, so I am in chronic sleep deficit every summer.

Fortunately, we are on the flip side of our annual trip around the sun, and the days have shortened to a more manageable length. The sun sets before 9 p.m. now and won’t be back up until about 7 tomorrow morning. That’s a nice block of darkness in which to sleep. Oh yes, and less sunshine means more of the day is comfortably cool for dog walking and such. It’s the perfect time of the year.

“Sunset Dog,” from


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