The rising sun inches southward. The mornings are shorter and shorter in the Northern Hemisphere until, sometime on January 3, the earth’s morning tilt stops and in an instant, as we move onward in our orbit, the sun begins to rise earlier again. In the meantime, and this is the important thing I hang on to this week, by the clock the afternoon reaches it shortest on December 9, today! After today it’s all gravy, at least in the afternoons. By the middle of January the afternoons are perceptibly longer. Tomorrow the difference is just a few seconds, gradually becoming a minute and by the end of January, 2 minutes every afternoon. All this is “by the clock”, of course. Check out the Farmer’s Almanac or an astronomical website to see what I mean. http://www.timeanddate.com/sun/usa/syracuse?month=12&year=2014 A sundial gives no clue to this modern phenomenon. The true shortest day is still Winter Solstice, December 21, at exactly 6:03 PM in Syracuse, or something like that depending on where you are latitudinally. Knowing that things start improving in the afternoons early in December always lifts my mood. Celebrate December 9!