Here Comes The Sun.

A friend of mine lives in an old farm house with a single hallway that goes from the front to the back, and once a year the rising sun is perfectly framed by the back door so that it shines all the way through the house. He calls it “House Henge” and, being a farmhouse, you’d think the builders might have planned for this and placed the house so it would fall on one of the equinoxes or one of the solstices—a time with some significance, perhaps, especially with regard to planting or harvesting. But, no, it just happens sometime in August. It’s still a pretty cool thing, though, and always reminds me how strange it was when I was a kid and realized the sun doesn’t just rise and set. It moves from north to south. I’d always heard “the sun rises in the east and sets in the west” but that’s not really true. Watching sunsets from my more or less west-facing bedroom window I’d see the sun set over some distant hills in the summer and behind a stand of trees in the winter, and when I saw a picture of an analemma I wasn’t surprised that people had documented the motion of the sun.

This motion can sometimes be annoying too. When I rode the bus home from work regularly I traveled more or less west, and there was always a time of year when, in the afternoon, the setting sun would be directly in front of the bus, pretty much blinding the driver. I’m sure it still happens; I see buses along my old route all the time. Bus drivers have a little bit of a shade they can pull down but there’d be at least a day or two when the sun is low enough that pretty much all they can do is put on some sunglasses and keep their eyes low.

A few months ago it looked like I’d be going back to work in my office, and I was even making plans to resume riding the bus, probably going both ways since my wife and I let our parking passes for work expire. Then all that fell through and for now I plan to keep working from home. And we’re getting to a time of year when the afternoon sun shines right in through the window where I work. It would be annoying but, hey, I can pull the shade all the way down. It’s not like I’m going anywhere.

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6 Comments

  1. Allison

    I’m dealing with a similar issue at the office right now – from 8AM – 9AM, the rising sun comes through and sticks in my right periphery, and then, like clockwork, it’s gone. And this is even with the shades down. I’m just happy to be in the office because I know my time here is probably going to end soon.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s a shame that your time in the office is probably going to end soon. Well, all things change, even the rising and setting of the sun.

      Reply
  2. M.L. James

    Chris,
    Spinal Tap is always a nice touch, especially when you’re dealing with analemma. Of course you could always use models with hourglass figures to do the same, maybe. Oh wait, that would probably be politically incorrect these days! But isn’t Spinal Tap politically incorrect these days just for the helluvit? Also, now I want to visit this Farm Henge that you speak of! 🙂
    M.L. James recently posted…Getting Lost in Van GoghMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      A lot of Spinal Tap seems to hold up pretty well even now, which is what makes it great. Well, one of their later songs doesn’t hold up so well, but I think we can forgive them for that.
      The Farm Henge is in upstate New York so it’s quite a drive. I bet you can find some Farm Henges of your own in Texas, though. Or make your own Stonehenge in the backyard. Just don’t let a dwarf step on it.

      Reply
  3. ANN J KOPLOW

    I love everywhere this post went, Chris, which was always illuminating and never annoying.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I always enjoy your comments, Ann, and I will never pull the shades down on you.

      Reply

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