Autobiography · Mental Health

Daylight

"last daylight" © Raul Lieberwirth , 2006. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
last daylight” © Raul Lieberwirth, 2006. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

They talk about vitamin D and circadian rhythms. Talk about seasonal depression. All I know is that this time of year I start to go just a little crazy. I never know if I should be eating lunch or dinner. Can’t tell if I slept in two hours late or woke up right on time.

I get up well before sunrise because I don’t want to miss a moment of day. Want to make sure I’ve worked out, showered, and eaten breakfast long before the light peers in through our windows.

My alarm clock lamp turns on slow, drowning out the dark of night with a soft white glow over the course of thirty minutes. When my cell phone screams at me, I’m already mostly awake.

I stumble to the bathroom and put on my running clothes before I have a chance to think about anything else. Brush my teeth, layer up, and head outside. The cold is shocking at first, but I adjust quickly, giving into the icy crisp of 5 AM.

On my run I pass an empty field. No lamps or houses to strangle out the still night sky. And I stop and stare at the stars I was never able to see when we lived in downtown Seattle. My frozen cheeks fold up into a smile. I lose myself in thousands of brilliance of it, and for a moment I think maybe the endless night isn’t anything to dread after all.

After breakfast, I take handfuls of vitamins and long pulls from a bottle of fish oil. I sit in front of a HappyLight and hope that maybe something will help this year. I drive to a barre class and bask in the presence of strong women. I stretch out. Chest open, chin up. I play graceful. Long and lean and flexible and tripping over my own feet. Just another silly activity to keep me from sitting and slipping into the dark.

At home, I draw all the blinds, windows open wide. Any ounce of sunlight that I can get, I let in. I don’t dare block it out. Instead, I absorb it. Embrace all I can because there’s not much of it.

In the afternoon, when my office fills up with light, I turn my heat up and strip down to my undershirt. Let the sun climb over my arms, my chest, my face. The hair on my arms prickle back to life and I close my eyes, finally relaxing.

When the last bits of light threaten to sink below the horizon, I put on a raincoat and boots, wrap a scarf up around my face, and pull a hat down over my ears. I face all elements to make sure I get the last little bits of natural brightness to shine in my eyes. And all I can think is that in a month it’s going to be even darker than this. But then I remember that in a month, it’s going to be as dark as it will get.

14 thoughts on “Daylight

          1. I bet! See, I ENJOY the dark at night-time, mostly because it means my friends in Murica are out to play and I get to connect, and THAT enlivens me more than (or at least as much as) sunshine.

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  1. For some reason, this really fills me with hope. I’m not sure if that’s what you were going for, but as I imagine you going through your day, doing all these little things to try to drink up every moment of light and to trying to draw as much strength and health as you can from your activities… I don’t know, there’s just something so positive in it, despite the struggle against the increasing darkness of winter.

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