On Sunday, Bend, like the rest of America, went off Daylight Saving Time and back onto standard time. This means that the evening darkness, already arriving ridiculously early, began arriving an hour earlier.
Of course it also means that the sun rises an hour earlier, but who the hell wants to get up to see the sun rise?
Bend's suckiness -- the climatic aspects of it, anyway -- is largely the product of two attributes: its altitude (3,623 feet above sea level) and its latitude (43 degrees, 3 minutes and 23 seconds north of the Equator -- nearly halfway to the North Pole, and just one degree south of Bangor, Maine). These two attributes mean that it's cold more or less year-round, and cold and dark in the winter.
Bend's relatively high latitude compounds the misery of its dreary, cloudy winters: Not only is the sun behind clouds most of the time, but there's precious little time for it to shine during the brief intervals when the clouds aren't there.
There's a slick little gadget on the Web called the Daylight Hours Explorer that lets you determine how many hours of daylight a place at any given latitude receives on any given day of the year. The Daylight Hours Explorer tells us that on Nov. 9, a place at latitude 43N -- like Bend -- gets 9.8 hours of daylight. By Dec. 21, the winter solstice, it will be down to 8.8 hours.
On the other hand, San Diego, California (latitude approximately 33N) gets 10.5 hours of daylight on Nov. 9 and 9.8 hours on Dec. 21, the shortest day of the year.
On the third hand, Nome, Alaska (latitude 64N) gets only 6.8 hours of daylight on Nov. 9 and 3.6 hours on Dec. 21. But who the fuck would voluntarily live in Nome, Alaska?
Of course, every place on the planet, from Nome to Bend to San Diego to Tierra del Fuego, averages 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness per day over the course of the whole year. Places like Bend that get relatively short days in the winter make up for it by getting relatively long days in the summer.
The catch is that the long summer days don't really "make up for it." The human organism can't store up sunlight during the summer and release it during the dark, dismal days of winter, when it needs it. That's why people in northern latitudes are prone to such afflictions as rickets and Seasonal Affective Disorder.
So if you find yourself in Bend during Dismal Sucky Time, your choices basically boil down to two: 1) buy a light therapy device and lots of cod liver oil, or 2) move.