25 January 2009

My Sunbeam

Last weekend I cleaned all the windows in my house. I have such huge windows here and when they are clean the view is outstanding. When they are dirty I don't like to look outside but at the same time want the curtains opened wide to let the light in. If you're thinking this would make me wash the windows regularly then you'd be wrong :) It's been at least three years since I last cleaned them. Normally I do them in the Fall when there is little or no rain to mark up the windows. But the weather was so warm last weekend that I took advantage of it and dragged the ladder, squeegee and cleaner outside. And I dragged S outside to hold the ladder steady. I should have cleaned my car at the same time. It's filthy too.

So today I have spent the better part of my day basking in the very large sunbeam in my living room. The window is so clean (ok, with some streaks) that the warmth of the sun seems intensified. At one point I even took my fuzzy slippers off because my feet were getting too hot. Now and then I would look outside and expect to see green because the sun was so warm. I was sorely disappointed to see it's still winter out there. And it's not even a warm day out. Well, the weather network says it's -15C which really isn't bad especially compared to the -29C of the other day. I am at the point of wanting Winter to be over. No hope of that, though. I'm in northern Canada. It will get very cold before getting very warm. Uber sigh.

One thing that continues to amaze me about this house is my living room sunbeam. The living room faces south so I get sun all day. On the shortest day of the year in December my sunbeam is halfway up the wall opposite the window. On the longest day of the year in June the sunbeam is a mere couple of inches below the window sill. In the back yard which faces north, the shadow of the house on the longest day of the year is about a food wide. On the shortest day it is all the way into the alley, covering my car.

I know it is the tilt of the Earth's axis that causes the sun to look angled low or high in the sky. But it seems like the sun is weighted down by the cold air and unable to raise itself up in the sky in the winter. And the warm air of Summer helps to keep it high in the sky. So I track the position of the sun in the sky by how big my sunbeam and house shadow are. Very soon the sunrise and sunset times will change by minutes instead of seconds each day, causing my sunbeam to shorten quickly. I have been in this house for eleven Springs and the movement of the sun is what gets me through Winter. The sunbeam has made me feel hopeful that Spring will come, the frozen ground will thaw, the snow will melt and the grass will grow again. To me, the best thing about Winter is that Spring is next.

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