We’re New England writers. We live in the northeast, where the sun doesn’t shine much at this time of year. Days get shorter and shorter, the air colder and colder. You can understand why northern people in earlier times worried that the sun might never come back, that they might never be able to plant and reap again. So, Wickeds, where do your thoughts go during the short dark days of November?
Jessie: My thoughts head straight for soup, knitting and reading. Between my crockpot, Ravelry.com, and my local library I am happy to face the longest season of the year. I find the trick is to not fight the rhythm, to use it to my advantage and to save some things only for this time of year. I begin sorting and sifting through yarn for knitting projects I would never consider in the heat of the summer. I pull out the crockpot and load it up with ingredients for hearty winter stews. I reread old favorites that I only allow myself to enjoy when the sun hides away, like the Lucia books by E.F. Benson.
Edith: Even though I have a gym subscription to Planet Fitness, when the days are sunny and the trees brilliant, I head out for a walk instead of doing my weight routine. I feel like I need all the sunlight I can get. At the end of the day, I see mysterious shapes in the long autumn gloaming and imagine just what is covered by all those windblown leaves. But once the long night sets in, I just want to curl up and read. I bake bread on weekends, and find my writing very productive on weekdays.
Barb: In the years of jobs and kids and commuting, I hated the time change. That first day when I picked the kids up at daycare in the dark was such a downer. I always asked my husband to put the Christmas lights up the very first weekend in December so I would have something happy, warm and light greeting me at home. Now that I’m home full-time I don’t find it nearly as bad, though I have to remind myself, when I finally pull my head up from my desk at 7:30 pm or so, that it isn’t midnight.
Liz: Agree, Barb – driving home from work in the dark that first couple of weeks is always a downer! It makes me want to go home and snuggle up in a big wad of blankets. It just takes some getting used to. But I do love big bowls of soup and reading and writing in a nice, warm house with lights glowing in the windows. It’s lovely through the holiday season. But come January, I’m ready to kiss winter goodbye and get back to long hours of daylight.
Sherry: Since I don’t live in New England anymore I looked up the difference in the amount of daylight between Northern Virginia and the Boston area in December. The sunrises earlier in Boston than here but it sets sooner. My net gain of daylight is a whopping twenty-two minutes. Last year we left the Christmas lights on our bannister up. They became Presidents Day lights, Valentine lights, and finally party lights. The creaks and groans of the house always seem a bit louder when it’s dark.
Julie: My internal clock hates daylight savings time, so I like it when it ends. Plus, I work (go to the theater) a lot, so going home in the dark is pretty normal for me. I do resist having to button up my coat, and layer. I love Barb’s Christmas lights story. I put my tree up right after Thanksgiving, and leave it up through January. I also (for some reason) find it easier to get eat well and exercise. So despite the fact that I hate winter, I actually cope with it pretty well.
Readers: How about you?
The time change is no longer productive so why can’t they just pick one and get in sync with the rest of the world? We too have started having soups and chili’s, etc.
The time change isn’t about productivity, it’s about energy savings, and the concept goes back to Benjamin Franklin in the 1700s and several others in other countries around the world after that. The energy costs saved by opening businesses earlier in the day (following the sun) is also the reason then-Rep. Ed Markey proposed and got passage of the legislation in the US a few years ago to start earlier and end later. DST is practiced worldwide in about 70 countries.
The most difficult part – getting the dog to adjust with us! somehow, they don’t have as difficult a time in the fall (going back to “normal” time) as they do in the spring, even though they are suddenly being fed an hour “later” than they were for the past few months. Go figure!
For me, the darker days of November through January make me feel that it’s quite late when it’s really only 6 or 7 PM. I want to bundle myself in a cocoon and read or sleep. It takes a lot to get me to go out if I’ve already gotten home. I have to make myself do it. Far easier to catch me before I leave work and encourage me to join you for some activity. I don’t like that about myself, but there it is.
First I celebrate Samhain and drive the lost souls of the departed back to the Otherworld (this involve turning on a lot of lights and drinking Irish whisky). Then I spend a week trying to figure out how to change the clock setting on my thermostat. Then I haul all the sweaters out of the attic. Oh, and I’m supposed to be raking leaves (there’s my exercise) except I can’t find a rake. Uh-huh. And don’t forget Crime Bake! Great way to start the season.
Maybe the rake went back to the Otherworld during the Irish whisky drinking!
I live in Southern CA, and I hate the short days of winter. It’s dark by the time I get off work. And I much prefer the warmth of summer.
However, I do love Christmas. I’ve already got some Christmas music out and I’m plotting when I can start my decorating. Unfortunately, that’s over by January and I have to then just wait until Spring finally arrives.
Thanks for stopping by, Mark. That’s where I grew up!
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