Tuesday, May 29, 2012

An explosion of light

One of the things for me about living someplace new is learning the cycle of the seasons in the new place.  The rhythms of the light, the plants, the animals.

My first winter in Edinburgh felt longer and harder than I expected.  I know one of the medications I'm on completely messes with my thermo-regulation, but still!  I thought I was reasonably cold-hardy, after some of the places we've lived during winters in the US.  Hah. This winter made me feel like a cold wimp.  Winter in Edinburgh is cold, damp, raw, and dark.  At Winter Solstice, there weren't even seven whole hours of daylight

And then, about a week after Brigid, there was a sudden explosion of light.  It wasn't just that the days were longer and I noticed it, it was that Wow, there seemed to be so much more light! 

Beloved Wife and I have been noticing a similar change again starting right around Beltane.  Wow!  Once again, there is so much more light! 

I first noticed this when I woke up one morning to use the bathroom and it was not just light out, but bright.  Usually when this happens, it's about 6:00 am, and I have just enough time for a snooze before the alarm goes off.  I looked at my watch.  5:00 am.  5:00 am??

Unfortunately, the cats noticed the sun was up, too, and they thought it was a fine thing...

We've started closing the shutters when we go to bed, to block the morning sun so that we might actually sleep until the alarm goes off. 

Then we noticed the light in the evening. At Beltane, sunset was a little before 9:00 pm, and it was dark enough by 9:30 that the Beltane Fire Festival folks started their pyrotechnics then.  Now it's still fully light at 9:00 pm

This is delightful.  But confusing to my inner clock.  Yay, vitamin D!!  But it is hard to convince myself it's time to start winding down and getting ready to bed when it's still bright out, or cloudy but fully light.  Things will be interesting come Summer Solstice, when the days are really long.

For now, I am reveling in this delightful explosion of light and in getting to know this time of year in this place.  Blessed be.

3 comments:

judielaine said...

I grew up in the south east: the furthest north i lived was Durham, NC. Moving to Philadelphia for graduate school was a shock, and i became aware of how much the light affects my energy. I've a lightbox to use in winter months. And when we lived on the Presidio in San Francisco, in the "fog belt", i used it through out the foggy months, too. A summer solstice spent in Vancouver has educated me on what you are experiencing.

The day length and how it affects us seems poorly appreciated. I do wonder what affect may result from the long twilight of artificial light in which so many children are now raised.

Alyss said...

I visited Fairbanks Alaska for a week in July a number of years ago and experienced the same difficulty going to sleep. Luckily, I was on vacation so it wasn't a big deal. I remember feeling a little tired, getting ready for bed and then going to say goodnight to my friends but because they were sitting around the backyard fire, in the twilight... at midnight.... I stayed up a bit longer. And then it started getting lighter. Yeah, didn't get much sleep that week. It made me have a better appreciation for why the land felt so "crazy" though - if it was light like this all summer, then it had to be dark all winter and that is crazy making. Interesting experience, that's for sure.

staśa said...

judielaine, I've used full-spectrum lights in my regular lamps before -- oy, especially the bathroom for first thing in the morning in the winter -- but we are thinking about a lightbox for winter here next year. Hard to say how much was that the first year transition was just hard, and how much was about lack of light. More data to come, that's for sure!

Moving just from Philly to Ann Arbor was a shock for me in terms of the patterns of the light -- imagine Seattle and now here! LOL.

"The day length and how it affects us seems poorly appreciated. I do wonder what affect may result from the long twilight of artificial light in which so many children are now raised."

I wonder, too, how much of it is not having work or spiritual cycles in tune with nature, or where we're exposed to nature -- ? When I worked outside all summer in the Mid-Atlantic, I was more aware of these things...

Alyss, I bet! I remember reading an article a F/friend from Philadelphia who spent a year as Friend-in-Residence at Chena Ridge Meeting in Alaska wrote / a letter he sent back to the Meeting, in which he talked about the sun rising during Meeting for Worship -- between 10 and 11 am! And I have friends who live even further north in Europe, whose Winter Solstice pictures I see on-line. No, not quite so dark here.

Ah, perspective... :)

We are adjusting to the length of the days; it's been pretty neat. And we're starting to notice that sunset is a little earlier, which I think is very funny.

We're going to FGC Gathering, and I expect the sun rhythms will either feel perfectly normal (b/c that's what I'd expect on the East Coast in early July, right?), or very strange. We shall see. :)