HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

January 19, 2009
From Our Readers

Comment

Re: From the Editor of January 12, 2009

Greetings John,

I've been thinking about your remarks on the New York Times article by Timothy Eagan of Port Angeles, WA, titled "Hibernation Blues." You hinted at the humor of someone from Port Angeles, WA writing about experiencing winter hardships when they didn't know the real winters of Vermont. I experienced Vermont winters while an undergraduate at Goddard, and now live in Western Washington on an Island in Puget Sound, so your thoughts gave me something to ponder.

I can remember deep, lasting snow every winter I spent in Vermont, including 13 feet of accumulated snow in Plainfield in the winter of 1970-1971. In comparison, Port Angeles has a succession of strong wind storms, rain, snow (at times, but considerably less than Vermont), and very frequent gray skies. Quite different winters, but those attributes are not all that makes it winter in Western Washington.

Port Angeles is at latitude: 48.118, further north than anywhere in Vermont. I think what really defines "winter" in this part of the Northwest is the shortness of the days, frequent gray days, and long dark nights that stretch for more than 15 hours. That's the characteristic of winter that accounts for so many people in this area having disorders based on lack of light.

Cathy Tauscher
Clinton, Washington


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