Making the long turn toward winter’s end

Winter officially has arrived, as of late Thursday morning.

The winter solstice means the steady erosion of daylight that began back on June 21, when summer yet was young, now will add a few more twilight minutes per day.

The difference will be almost imperceptible at first, a matter of a minute or two of extra light, likely made moot on overcast days. The sun still will not come this month until after 7:30 a.m. and will be gone by about 4:15 p.m.

The Upper Peninsula’s more northern location makes winter’s effects more acute; it’s not as severe as being in Canada but close. We in the U.P. have come to embrace this long season of lesser light, finding plenty of reasons to be out in the snow and cold. We revel, or at least take some small pride, in our ability to adapt to such conditions.

Yet it’s perhaps is no coincidence that several of our major holidays — Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, even Valentine’s Day — are clustered in the dimmest months. We need more reason to celebrate in these cold winter days than in summer.

And remember that in turning the corner on sun bowing to night, it gives the glimmer of the promise of spring, though residents of the region might expect and, given the many cherished activities that require snow and ice, rely on winter keeping its grip for weeks, perhaps months to come.

Those who have a warm, safe place this Christmas should count their blessings. If you know of someone who might be left out this season, find reason to invite them to the celebration.

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