At 10am this past Friday, we officially re-entered twilight, leaving behind the full darkness of night. There's not a hint of discernible light anywhere on the horizon, but with the sun now less than 18 degrees below the horizon, we're technically in astronomical twilight. In a couple of weeks, it'll be bright enough to be nautical twilight; in a month or so we'll hit civil twilight, and so on.
That means the end of the spectacular sky shows we've been getting day after day, but I'm completely ok with that. For a couple of days now, I've been mentally quite finished with the darkness - it no longer holds enough interest to justify the difficulties it brings. I'm sure my recent spike in toastiness is playing heavily into it, but over the last few days the walk to DSL has become sufficiently frustrating and hazardous underfoot to overwhelm the stars and auroras overhead.
Sastrugi and snow drifts are now thick enough on the ground that it's essentially impossible to take even a single step without stumbling. Some are aligned almost parallel to the flag line, catching and subtly deflecting feet onto awkwardly angled slopes. Ankles twist and knees jam as the ground falls away suddenly, and the body is repeatedly jolted as you stumble in slow motion through an invisible obstacle course changing daily.
The moon rises tomorrow, bringing with it the end of the darkness. By the time it sets two weeks from now, the sun will be casting a clear glow across the horizon, easily enough to navigate or tell time by. We'll still get a couple of weeks of auroras, but the galaxy and the millions of fainter stars are more or less done with.
We had some good auroras today - one last hurrah in the dark.