The New Year is here and Iowa is firmly entrenched in the Winter of our discontent. Partly because it's Iowa and this is how Winter always is, but also because of the carryover from the shutdown of 2020 that we've all done our best to take part in to keep ourselves and each other safe so we can soon return to normalcy. We may have to ride that part out a bit longer, but vaccines are here and in a bit of good news: the daylight hours are increasing.

KCRG says we'll altogether add 71 minutes of daylight this month and I, for one, couldn't be happier. Add to that another 70 minutes in February, and 84 in March.

Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Iowa City, and Dubuque will all begin to see sunsets at or after 5 p.m. this week, and the last time that happened according to TimeAndDate.com was November 1, 2020, when we "fell back" at the end of daylight saving time.

The days are getting longer, and as of now, they are giving us about 9.5 hours of daylight. By Valentine's Day it'll be up to 10 hours and by March 20, the first day of Spring, 12 hours.

The first day of summer is June 20, the longest day of the year, with an estimated FIFTEEN daylight hours. My mood is just significantly better when it's warm and I can still see the sun after dinner. Our summer events like outdoor concerts and Farmers' Markets might take longer to get back to normal, but I expect the summer traditions that came back out of hiding due to the pandemic like cruising and drive-in movies to be in full force again this year.

I am really looking forward to the return of grilling (which some claim to still do in the chill of Winter, no thank you), extra walks with my dog at night, and just sitting out on the patio without freezing to death. How about you?

One thing is for sure. We're turning the corner in more ways than one, my friends.

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