Friday, 26 September 2014

When It's Over




En effet. Quand il est midi aux États-Unis, le soleil, tout le monde le sait, se couche sur la France. Il suffirait de pouvoir aller en France en une minute pour assister au coucher de soleil. Malheureusement la France est bien trop éloignée. Mais, sur ta si petite planète, il te suffisait de tirer ta chaise de quelques pas. Et tu regardais le crépuscule chaque fois que tu le désirais...
     'Un jour, j'ai vu le soleil se coucher quarante-trois fois !'
Et un peu plus tard tu ajoutais: 
     'Tu sais... quand on est tellement triste on aime les couchers de soleil...' 
---Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


Le Petit Prince was one of the first French language books I read many, many couches de soleil in the past.  Parts of it stick with me; the above quote closes one of the central chapters, where the eponymous protagonist of the story is explaining his home, an asteroid far away, to the narrator of the story who has crashed his plane in the deserts of north Africa.

Today in Paris, we cross a sort of line; human beings, from antiquity until now, mark lives in part by celestial events.  Even le petit prince himself uses the sunrises and sets to explain his world.  The calendar marked the autumn equinox a couple of days ago, bringing an end to summer and a beginning to fall.

Today, another event.  From now until next spring, we will have more darkness than light.  The sun will set today in Paris at 7.40 PM, having risen at 7.41 AM.  We will have eleven hours and fifty-nine minutes of sun, twelve hours and one minute of darkness.  

The solstice will arrive in about three months, and until then, we will lose a few minutes of sun every day.  



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