Posted by: Calmseas (Mike) | December 6, 2007

Winter Blahhhhs

Tire Tracks

Well, here we are again—the beginning of winter. Now I don’t really have a whole lot against winter. I like the change of seasons here in Michigan. The colder weather is actually a welcome relief from what seems to be endless warm weather at times. Even the snow is not too bad. It gives me a chance to tear up various parking lots and side streets with my four-wheel-drive Jeep.

This year we had summer up through mid-October. Then we plunged directly into winter. Sometime in April next year we will likely plunge directly from winter back into summer. So much for the springs and autumns that I seem to remember from my younger life. Winters around here do seem to go on forever—even more so than summers.

The biggest problem with winter, though, is not the snow, or the cold, or even its interminable length. The biggest problem with winter is the darkness, which comes in a couple of different forms. This time of the year the sun sets at a little after 5:00 p.m., which I can actually be thankful for since I live in the extreme western portion of the Eastern time zone—in Chicago and Milwaukee it gets dark a little past 4:00 p.m. Since the sun rises around 8:00 a.m., that means a full nine hours of daylight around these parts. Put another way, that means a full fifteen hours of darkness. It is really not until Groundhog Day each year (February 2) that I can say that there is a first glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, and not until sometime in March before we really begin to get the sense that the days are indeed getting longer.

Another form of darkness around here presents itself as a wall of clouds from November until well into February (or beyond) each year. This means that even though we technically have nine hours of daylight in the winter, you wouldn’t really know it without a meteorologist telling you so, since you never actually see the sun during “daylight” hours.

With all of this in mind, I’ve assembled a bit of a calendar for the winter blues, to hopefully point the way (for us depressed types) toward brighter days ahead.

Winter Blues Calendar

1st Sunday in November – The curtain falls, standard time kicks in, the skies cloud completely over, doom and gloom arrives on schedule, cold weather begins to chill the bones, we are plunged into hopeless and unending darkness.

1st Part of December – We have arrived at nine hours of cloudy daytime, fifteen hours of equally cloudy darkness. The only things that light our days are the promise of Christmas and the prospect of much family time ahead; the only things that light our nights are all of the various clear and colored Christmas lights.

December 21st or so – The winter solstice arrives, in theory the shortest day of the year. Yet the days will all seem the same length until sometime in February.

January 20 – The dead of winter. It is always cold here. It is always snowy. The lakes are always frozen over. It is a wonderful time, however, to take a frosty evening walk.

February 2 (Groundhog Day) – If you get out your binoculars and look very intensely, you just might begin to see the tiny flickering light at the end of the long winter’s tunnel.

Mid February – The sun returns! A little. However, it will be mid-March before you really realize it.

March 15 (The Ides of March) – Much more daylight now, things are starting to melt, much promise of the coming spring and summer, finally some reason for hope. A great day for a Caesar salad, and a nice long evening walk.

April 8 – The last chance of any further snowfall this winter (yea . . . right). Nearly the time to get the boat out of hibernation and get her cleaned up. Plenty of daylight now. Winter is over! We can rejoice and start counting the days before the curtain again drops.



  1. Nice writting,
    IM just the oppositte..somewhat..I do love Spring/Summer, but this is my time of year… I actually like the darkness, seems as we sleep longer, at least I do, in the summer Im up past 11:00pm or so, in the winter IM down by 9:30 10pm….
    To each his own….
    I do appreciate your thoughts ….
    For Now, sit back and enjoy the season and SMILE :o)

  2. Can you believe that truck?

  3. Dont mind the winter, as long as I can go cross country skiiing.
    By the way, the nights here have below zero for a week and a half.
    Where’s the global warming?

  4. i looove winter!

  5. […] A nice essay about winter and the winter blahs here. […]

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