Halfway Out of the Dark

“On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact mid-point, everybody stops and turns and hugs. As if to say, ‘Well done. Well done, everyone! We’re halfway out of the dark.’ Back on Earth we call this Christmas.” – Doctor Who

I confess, I’m addicted to data.  I love building graphs and colorized charts to visualize that data.  When we installed our Tesla Energy solar panels back in September, I was delighted to have our house powered by that ancient and reliable thermonuclear fusion reactor that shows up each day in our sky.  But, I wanted to see the data!  I soon discovered a wealth of information available from our new Tesla Energy Powerwall system.  I began mining it and even created a simple python library, pyPowerwall, to make it easy to manipulate.  Using that and Telegraf, InfluxDB, and Grafana I had an observability platform and dashboard to feed my data and visualization appetite.  Naturally, the graphs were in full color.  

It’s getting dark.  You don’t need a graph to tell you that.  Our days get shorter in the winter.  We all observe the blanket of darkness that gradually pulls over us, stretching deeper into our mornings and evenings.  But what you may not know is how dramatic that change can be in terms of energy.   Our solar energy system went online at the beginning of October, with 35kWh of energy captured from the sun every day.  It has been on a steady ramp down since that first day.  As we tick inescapably towards our winter solstice, in just two months the energy we get from our heavenly benefactor has dropped in half to 17kWh per day.  The day-to-day graph shows the flattening of the curve as it bends down ominously towards the winter solar abyss of December 21st.   It’s victory over us is felt in the cold wind, the fading colors and the melancholy shadows that scrape against our souls.  Darkness is here.

Light a candle.  Our human family has witnessed this solar dance since our beginning.  We measure the sky and plot the stars to know where we are. We embrace the rhythm of the year by decorating it with celebrations and traditions.  In the darkness of the winter, we light our lights.  We illuminate our winter journey with candles.  We adorn our homes with fragrant greens, twinkling lights, cheerful ornaments and glowing fires.  All the while, we know, the light is coming again.  The glory of the sun will return!   But for now, we celebrate.

It’s almost here.  The dead of winter has arrived.  Cuddle up with a warm cup of coffee or tea, your loved ones and a glowing fire.  The light will return.  We are halfway out of the dark!  Celebrate it. 

Merry Christmas!