Early Riser

For many years now I have been an early riser. It’s quiet in the morning and I often accomplish more before 9 AM than I do the rest of the day. The mornings are my time.

But lately, the hours before 9 AM have been growing longer. The sun is up long before my alarm rouses me from sleep.

For the past several days now my eyes have popped open at 4:45 AM to find the sun pouring through our “black out” blinds. I suppose it’s not coming through them as much as it is coming around them. It is like trying to prevent the tide from coming in by constructing little dykes of sand. The sun overwhelms our fragile efforts.

Lisa is a night owl and most nights, comes to bed much later than I do. The night is her time and now the sun stays up with her. She commented last night, “It’s 10 PM before I realize its getting dark outside.”

The hours of sunlight are remarkable for a Texan, just as the lack of it was remarkable during the winter months. You’ll remember from a previous post that it was still dark as night at 8:00 AM and was dark again by 4 PM. It seemed the sun began to retire for the night at 2 PM in the afternoon (see “Darkness” from December 12)

I’m told the longest day is yet to arrive. Apparently it comes sometime in June. Lifelong residents of the Central Belt (2/3 of the population of Scotland live in the strip between Glasgow and Edinburgh) tell me that in May and June it will not get dark until as late as 11 PM and that the sun will open its eyes even earlier than it does right now. They also share that, only a little farther north the sun never fully sets in the summer, circling the sky like a toddler trying to keep herself awake.

Of course, none of this is news to you who live in Scotland. But, for those of you who dwell in the southern latitudes this kind of sunlight is hard to understand. Yes, there is more sunlight in the southern summer than in the winter, but not this much more. The seasonal contrast is not nearly so profound.

We’re getting used to living in Scotland and are feeling more and more like natives. But, the summer sun is a new thing. Good thing we’ve got lots of sunny hours to think about it.

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