November signals shift to winter in UP

November has arrived.

Early Sunday, we will “fall back,” turning the clocks back an hour in our somewhat futile attempt to mitigate the effects of our northern hemisphere tilting away from the sun.

Good news: That will reset sunrise in Iron Mountain at just after 6:30 a.m.

It also puts sunset Sunday at 4:32 p.m. Yes, the sun will disappear in the Iron Mountain area, even with a clear sky, just after 4:30 p.m. for much of the region.

It reminds of what a Native American supposedly said of the shift for Daylight Savings Time: “Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket.”

It gets worse for the area as winter truly sets in. For the first three weeks of December, the sun will set by 4:10 p.m. The only consolation might be that it never happens before 4 p.m.

Further downside: Sunrise will lag until after 7:30 a.m. into early January.

While many of us appreciate the four seasons of living this far north — and the recreational opportunities we have adopted that come with that snow and cold — reality is November marks the start of a stretch of months that will extend well into February in which many of us will leave for work before sunrise and not make it home before sunset.

Perhaps knowing this dark period is to come, a string of holidays — last night’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, perhaps even Valentine’s Day — seem strategically placed to help ease the transition, give a reason for warmth and cheer and celebration as winter sets in.

Gun deer hunting season in Michigan also is only a week away, again bringing families and friends together in the warmth of shared experiences and traditions at deer camps across the region.

Not just enduring, but enjoying, winter is part of being a Yooper. While others of lesser fiber might curse the elements, much of the Upper Peninsula has learned to embrace making the most of these weeks of deep cold and snow, savoring them as much as the seemingly shorter window of opportunity that is summer in the region.

Winter might not officially arrive until Dec. 21, but for the U.P. it may very well be starting now.

And Yoopers, as usual, will adapt to whatever this season might bring.

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