One of the more thought-provoking books I’ve read in awhile is The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. It follows a young pre-teen (roughly the same age as my son, and if that’s the case, my kid is either really young for his age or this girl was waaaay old for hers) and her pre-adolescent growing pains during a time of great change in the world. The planet is slowing. By a few minutes a day, the sun and dark gradually lengthen, until by the end of the book (um, spoilers) a “day” is some 70-odd days of day, 70-odd days of night.
Can you imagine? Watching the sun disappear at the end of that 70-odd day stretch, knowing it wouldn’t be back for nearly 2 1/2 months? My psyche whimpers at the thought, for I know the feeling. It’s how I feel during a Chicago winter as the sun begins to set. It’s been two weeks since we set our clocks back, and it’s just now hitting me. By 3:30 in the afternoon the sun is shrugging on its coat and opening the door. By 4:45 it’s started the car and headed down the road. By 5:30 it’s turned the corner and it’s a long time ’til morning. And there’s still a month to go before days start getting longer, a dribble at a time. I keep wanting to send the boys to bed at 6:30, and it has nothing to do with their behavior.
While I felt the shortness of days living in Colorado, it’s considerably more pronounced here. Chicago is on the far eastern edge of a time zone, is much further north than Denver, and is a full mile lower. There’s a lot less sun to the days here. Sunsets lingered in the Centennial State, whereas here they end the day with a loud thud. So every day as the light outside begins to turn to grey, I think of The Age of Miracles and wish for the sun to return quickly.
Planetary Slowing has now joined Zombies on the list of things “Jen would not survive.”