Being south (a tad) from the Arctic Circle, my town never experiences the 24 hour night at this time of year. But ever since the summer I have been aware of a relentless slide into darkness.
Today the snow-obscured disk of the sun rose after I arrived at the office and slunk away into an abyss of deep, ominous gray well before my mid-afternoon break. This descent into ever-lengthening night will only conclude on the morning of December 22 when the sun touches the Tropic of Capricorn and begins its all too slow march back towards the equator. On that date we will have 5 hours of sun, though to be quite fair we will have extensive 90-minute twilights on either end.
On a sunny day, at "high" noon, my shadow extends a good 40 feet along the ground, pointing almost due north. The sun simply skims the horizon, and there are areas in our town which don't get the sun's disk for a couple of months due to the high hills nearby.
And the sun is a frigid one, yielding no warmth at all, like one of those strange LED bulbs. Even in February, when the mercury dips to minus 35 celsius, the sun is high enough on still days to melt a little bit of snow from the eaves and form icicles. But in the Arctic December the sun is only a disk, casting pastel pink light around the landscape.
I've heard of some southerners taking light therapy at home to stave off the affects of seasonal affective disorder
, that physiological condition that carries the appropriate acronym SAD. Myself, I've never felt the need, but as I grow older I am beginning to notice an increasing coincidence between the dark days of November/December and health complaints.
I've had a cold I just can't shake which has left me feeling more than a little aguish. I have had to cancel two roadtrips for work simply because I was concerned with really descending into sickness. But so far I've been able to fend off the more serious medical complaints.
So why, I ask myself, do I live here?
Labels: broodingness, darkness, malaise