A Whole Lotta Light?

Sunset Over Fougères

A quick observation about the light in Brittany. Specifically, the sheer amount of it.

For some reason it hadn’t occurred to us during our first months in France. Probably because we were so dazzled by everything else about this place. Absolutely everything was new to us back then. But, now that spring has been rolling its way through our lives, it’s become apparent to us that the days are noticeably longer here.

Last month, after a particularly sunny day had been coming to a close, we suddenly realized that it was 21:00 (9pm) and the sun was just going down. What?! This seemed quite late to us. Were we still so enchanted by being in France that we were imagining the days are magically filled with more hours of daylight?

So, I looked it up. It turns out that, in Seattle, sundown would have been just before 20:00 in mid-April. As of today, sundown in the Pacific Northwest will occur at 20:36. Last night in Malestroit it was still light until nearly 22:00. This morning I woke up at 06:30 (only momentarily, you understand) and realized that it was already fully light out.

How could this be? Further research revealed that Malestroit and Seattle are roughly the same latitude. Seattle is at 47.6 degrees and Malestroit is actually a little bit further north at 47.8 degrees. Logically, there should be no discernible difference between the day-lengths of these two locations.

It turns out that the only difference is 1. We are indeed still wearing French-colored glasses, and 2. I am an idiot. The obvious answer to everyone but me is Daylight Savings Time. Yes, sundown occurs later in the evening in Brittany than it does in Seattle, but sunrise ALSO occurs later in the former than it does in the latter. In Seattle, the sun was already up by 05:30 today. The only real difference between the two is the arbitrary shift in calculating the beginning of day.

Stay in school, kids! Study science.

Notwithstanding the science-y bit, isn’t life at least 50% about perception? [Actually, the gallingly persistent unwillingness to accept the reality of global climate change would suggest that the figure is closer to 90%.] Even though we are intellectually aware that there is little to no real difference, we still feel like the days are longer here in Brittany. And that feels nice. Especially since we are most definitely not morning people. So, the later sunrise doesn’t bother us a bit. That’s a win-win in my book!

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