Leisurely long days or never-ending nights?
We are about to hit the wall of darkness. Already it is dark in the morning as the work day begins. Soon it will be dark for the journey home, as well. The daylight block of time will get shorter and shorter in the run-up to the winter solstice. It feels foreboding, even menacing to watch the daylight fading a little bit more each 24 hour cycle.
When I was a child, the length of the days or nights was not such a big deal. I remember staring out my bedroom window in the summer at bedtime and the sun would still be shining. I was tired, sad and mad at my parents for making me go to sleep so early. My sleep cycle started and ended in daylight. Somehow that was as unsettling as living in too much darkness.
Last year, as a family we tried to chase summer around the globe. Therefore, we spent much of the winter close to the equator. Down there, the days and nights are the same length. The sun rises and sets in an instant. If you want to see it, you need to get organized, know when it is and be in a good spot, otherwise you will miss it. The best part of the even length of light and dark on the earth is the air temperature. The climate is warm all the time. The only variance in the tropics is between rain or sunshine.
I’ve longed, for my whole life, to live a winter without cold. We mostly managed it. Barcelona started to get a little cool in November, we had to turn on the heat in our apartment for our last 10 days there. When we landed in Lisbon in March, the whole of Europe was in the grip of a very cool Spring. We kept the heat on in our Airbnb rentals until we arrived in Venice in early April. But even during those stretches of cool, day time temperatures were warm enough to be outside, doing fun stuff.
In our year away, we did not experience the sensation, of burrowing in for the winter. In the fall, there is a feeling of bracing for the cold and dark to come. A foreboding that you are about to start an endurance test. Only the strong will prevail. Surviving the winter is not for the faint of heart. At least this was what it was like in the north, on the Canadian prairies.
Getting ready to wait out the winter was a real thing. Before everyone had a car to run out to a local grocery store. You stocked up on basic food provisions. Modes of transportation were readied for a journey over snow and ice. Fuel to heat the home was stored. Fruits and vegetables from the garden were preserved, along with various animal proteins. There would come a point, deep in the winter when people could not leave their homes.
OK, that doesn’t happen too much anymore. At least not for those living in urban centers. You might get a day of two of snow which generates havoc for a modern city. People will stay home for their sanity, not for survival. It is different. Not being able to leave your front doorstep for days on end is something else.
Still knowing that exposed skin will freeze in a matter of seconds is disconcerting. If the furnace in your home goes out, you are in trouble. When setting out to drive anywhere in this winter wonderland you have a trunk full of supplies, just in case you breakdown. The deep cold which can settle in, is both dangerous and fantastic. There is nothing like being cuddled up in front of a roaring fireplace wearing various wool garments, while a snowstorm howls outside.
Nowadays I feel like these kind of special winter events can be experienced on a vacation. The practical side of living in the dark for a whole season and all the cold weather effects which come with it, is just not for me. If I felt lonesome for the North, it is a relatively easy journey by airplane, from anywhere in the world.
On the other hand, there is a clarity which comes from breathing in the air up North. The smell is clean. You can fill your lungs and fuel your body and mind in a way which is not possible down South in the hot, sticky and heavy air. I find myself getting more creative as the weather cools. We are forced inside by the temperatures and we get to work in a way we don’t in the summer. Maybe that is the upside, long days spent outside in the sun, long nights catching up on everything indoors.
The seasons continue to flow from one to the next marking the passage of time in their own subtle ways. There are no hard and fast rules, really. When the temperatures are consistent for a certain number of days, a plant blooms, insects begin feed, fruit sets. Natural life does not need an instruction manual, it just knows how to be in the best way possible. Maybe I am the same way, being of the North. The seasons are a signal to transition, which is neither good nor bad, it just is.
If we didn’t have to bundle up and protect ourselves from the cold weather of winter, our appreciation of the warm weather in summer might not be as great. The daylight hours which stretch out forever are glorious after the dark days of winter. Now that I have lived a winter without the contrast, I’m not so sure I would like that, year after year. I suppose the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence!
Join me in this creative journey. I am on a mission to start a global movement, focusing on the importance of creativity in our daily lives. Together, let us see where we can take this. I look forward to hearing from you! Please share your thoughts. Feel free to send an email to: Christine@dailycreatives.com #creaspatreat
My creative year:
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: : “Fruitless at 40: Rediscovering My Creative Power”
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