The calendar tells me that today was the Autumnal Equinox, otherwise known as the first day of fall (or autumn). Besides the fact that we can now say that summer is officially over, it’s a sign that the weather will finally start to cool the fuck off. One-hundred-degree-plus days are gone (hallelujah!) and soon the end-of-year festivities will begin.
This first day of fall traditionally means that there is roughly the same amount of daylight as night sky, hence the name “equinox”. There are approximately 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of dark throughout the world. Where I live, the Sun rose this morning at 0721, and it set this evening at 1929. That totals 12 hours and 8 minutes of daylight. The amount of daylight will continue to decrease until the Winter Solstice in December, when the amount of daylight is the least in the Northern Hemisphere.
While we in the Northern Hemisphere are preparing for the coming winter and accompanying cooler temperatures, the folks south of the Equator are getting ready for their summer. For everyone in that half of the world, their Christmas is spent in sweltering heat; those who can have a day at the beach. They can build “sand-men”, as opposed to snowmen.
Thankfully, the brutal heat of the summer is over. This last Monday morning, when I took my son to school at about 0730, the air outside was a little on the chilly side, although I relished every moment of it. This time of year, late September to early October, in southern Utah can be defined as “sweater weather in the morning, heatstroke in the afternoon”. I know many people who say they love hot weather, and I don’t understand their fascination. I mean, in the cold, you can always add another blanket to your bed or put on more clothing. In the middle of summer, you could be naked on a cool tile floor, and still not get any relief. A fan helps very little, usually just stirring the hot air like a convection oven.
I’m the kind of person who loves a cold pillow. Whenever my pillow feels hot, I flip it over to feel the colder side. Even in the winter, I’ll find the colder side of the pillow. In the winter you can snuggle under a blanket or two to maintain climate control. To the contrary, in summer, your bedroom can be stifling, making it difficult to sleep. Scientists have proven that the best sleep happens around 65° room temperature. Doctors say the thermostat should be set in the range of 60 – 67° for the best sleep. I’ve been known to open my bedroom window on the cooler nights to allow heat to escape, then turn my fan off, in order to achieve that temperature range. Setting the thermostat that low can lead to a very expensive electric bill and increased wear on the A/C. As for my fan, the part that sucks about the silence of no fan is that my tinnitus blares at full volume—the white noise of the fan helps to drown out the never-ending ringing in my ears😫.
“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”– Stanley Horowitz