Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dark At Five

I was busily doing MY STUFF yesterday, when it dawned on me that I oughta make some dinner.  I had been so engrossed in what I was doing that I had no idea what time it was, and boy was I shocked when I looked out a window and discovered it was already completely dark.

I was even more surprised when I looked at my watch, finding it only to be a bit after 5:00.

We are only about 2/3 of the way through Fall, and those long, dark nights have already begun.

My husband dreads this time of year.  It's not unusual for him to get himself into quite a grumpy, irritable, depressed funk by the time winter is in full swing.

If he was retired, and if we didn't have family concerns keeping us here, and if finances were right, and if, if, if,... we'd probably relocate to a more southernly location, at least for those long-nighted winter months.  Maybe some day we will.  I enjoy reading the blogs of those of you who do just that, and it sounds so delightful.

I thought back to a trip we made to Alaska many years ago.  We happened to be there during July, during the Midnight Sun months.  By midnight, the light was still very much there, and in fact, I had a hard time sleeping at first.  That light coming in through the cracks in the window blinds just messed with me.  My body didn't get the usual signs telling it to start thinking about getting sleepy.  It's a weird thing.

Of course, the Alaskans tried to describe to us what the other extreme is for them - the long, dark, winter months.  From mid-November to mid-January are the darkest days out of the year, reaching post-dusk qualities.  Up in the north of Alaska, during this time, the sun travels along the horizon for only about three hours before it disappears until the next day.

I know, it's a great time for vampires.

Interestingly, in many years Alaska has the highest teenage birthrate in the United States.  Perhaps the teens just stay inside keeping "busy" during their long night.

Back to my husband, who seems to suffer throughout the dark winter season more than me.  He works in a window-less environment, starting before daylight at 5:00 AM, and driving home by about 4:00 PM.  He is lucky if he experiences daylight even one whole hour.

SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder - affects many people like my husband during the winter, dark months.  Some folks suffer with this disorder even though they do get out in the daylight more than others.

I have my own methods of coping with my own feelings of cabin fever.  Whether they are what the doctors recommend or not, I don't know.  I just know what seems to help for me.

First, although I tend to gravitate towards wearing lots of black (the experts say it makes us look thinner), I still try to wear colorful shirts or sweaters.  Bright colors give me a tiny mood boost.

Second, it always helps me to get myself involved in an ongoing project.  Sometimes it will simply be a household organizational project, like sorting and reorganizing my clothing closet.  Other times, my project may be to plan the details of an upcoming vacation or road trip.  Even perusing through those sunny Caribbean travel catalogs is often a mood lifter for me.

And finally, finding things to laugh about is good for cheering oneself up.  Like this crazy puppy of ours, who thinks she is a person.  I suppose she wants a magazine to read, too.

What are some of the things you do to stay happy throughout the long winter?

Stay safe, stay warm, and please, stay happy.


  1. I hate the time change. It should not be dark at 5 no matter where one lives.

    I cope by doing tons of hobbies. Passes the time very quickly.

  2. Mom, you'll never move that far away from your grandkids - who are you kidding? Things that get me through the winter? Christmas, President's Day off school, MY BIRTHDAY (I'll be 30 this year, don't forget), counting down to Spring Break. Although it gets early too soon, I do like having daylight in the morning for my drive to work.

  3. Our days here are longer than yours in the winter but shorter than yours in the summer. Something to do with the tilt of the Earth.