Fault can usually be found at any time, criticism can constantly be heard, and nobody can claim that Saturday in Washington matched some image of autumnal perfection. Yet its blue skies and bright sunshine seemed more than merely acceptable.

Considered on the grounds of weather, physical comfort and the ability to enjoy, or even, at times, luxuriate in our surroundings, Saturday seemed a fine day.

At 61 degrees, Washington’s high temperature could not be mistaken for summer. And at this time of year, no matter how bright the sunshine, long shadows fall across streets and lawns.

But the reading was a pleasurable eight degrees above normal, and awareness of how near we are to the end of November may have made the day seem to confer benefits greater than we had much right to expect.

On Saturday, trees still showed the foliage that is synonymous with fall. It is the sunshine that shows the leafy colors to its best advantage. On Saturday, some leaves flamed scarlet in the radiance of the day. Others burned a bright yellow.

Clouds often did seem to sail overhead, but they seemed devoid of threat or menace, even if they at times appeared to move swiftly enough to suggest a strong breeze and vigorous gusts.

Yet, to be fair, Saturday showed obvious, perhaps unavoidable shortcomings. For all the attraction it held while the sun shone, Saturday had one problem that could hardly be overlooked.

It was the matter of duration.

On Saturday, the sunshine that we saw here seemed to do all that could be asked of it.

If it could not satisfy everyone’s wishes and desires, the issue seemed to be not so much its brightness as its brevity.

As November nears its close, the calendar and the geometric laws of the heavens impose strict limits perhaps less on the intrinsic quality of our sunshine but on its quantity.

Late Saturday afternoon, the happy brightness of the day drained swiftly from the skies.

Just 23 days from Dec. 21 and the winter solstice, we now approach the time when daylight reaches its yearly minimum of 9 hours and 26 minutes.

On Saturday, our allotment was only a meager 14 minutes more.