In my just released novel Beyond the Precipice, the longest night–winter solstice–is symbolic. In Bret’s darkest hour…
He skidded to a stop just short of the house and threw the gear into park prematurely, causing the car to lurch, throwing them into their seat belts at the last moment.
He stared into the wintry void as the longest night of the year absorbed them.
In Edmonton, Alberta, winter solstice falls on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 3:44 a.m. Daylight hours run from 8:49 a.m. to 4:16 p.m., but cloud cover has a significant light-dampening, day-shortening effect.
Outside it had clouded over, and dusk settled in at half past three.
With daylight lasting a mere 7 hours and 27 minutes, the winter solstice day is a whopping 9 hours and 35 minutes shorter than on summer solstice in June.
The sun in the winter in Canada is also distinctly different from that of other seasons.
The Christmas lights had been left on in spite of the bleached winter sun’s attempt to brighten the living room.
Often, winter brings a unique, monochromatic beauty,
As the sun’s disc glowed through a veil of white, hoarfrost fell from trees in silent chunks, chipping away the platinum brilliance…
while at other times, you experience exquisite, unexpected splashes of colour.
The setting sun lit the underside of the broken clouds with flamingo pink, its orange orb casting the illusion of flames across the glassy snow. He left the house, walking on cold fire…
The segments below are taken from Chapter 44: “Farewell“
The shadow of the headstone that bore his father’s name stretched across the snow toward him.
Snow, fine as dust, blew from the small grave marker, tinted orange by the setting sun.
In the dying rays of the day, the snow lay awash in deep orange. Stray clouds glowed pink against a gradient of turquoise to deep blue. Black branches crisscrossed the canvas that was the sky.
When he looked around the graveyard once more, the “blue hour” had settled in, that time between sunset and darkness when snow and sky appeared as if viewed through a blue lens.
Have a wonderful winter solstice. Remember: after this day, we begin to climb out of the pit as daylight makes its return, if only in minuscule increments at first. By March, as we head into spring equinox, we will be gaining day length at a rate of 4 1/4 minutes per day!
Weather and daylight geek signing off.
Oh, and the book isn’t about weather. However, it aligns nicely with this time of year!