The exact moment is just before 8am today. That brings us into the darkest quarter of the year. Or that is not quite right – it is probably no darker on average than the three months that follow the winter solstice around December 21.
But this is arguably (certainly for me) a gloomier time than then because the of the way in which night encroaches, gradually but relentlessly, day after day.
In November for example so much of our living experience is in darkness and so many of our memories of things that happen in that month are night-time ones, or events that happen in work or in home when it is dark outside. There is not, in November, the artificially bright seasonal cheer that there is in December. I remember when I was in my 20s having jobs that finished very late at night, in bars and on newspapers, and that hideous feeling of waking up at or after midday in November when the daylight was already in retreat.
This autumn comes after an extraordinary year in terms of climate: a glorious June in NI, then the wettest ever July, one of NI’s warmest ever summers, and then our hottest ever September day.
Perhaps it is time for some respite indoors, by a glowing fire …
• Ben Lowry (@BenLowry2) is News Letter editor