Tonight the clocks are turned back. In a few hours, we will gain the sixty minutes we lost in March. It’s not much.
It’s one of my favorite days of the year.
Night is gentle, closing around like a cape full of stars. Daylight hurts, sometimes physically, always mentally. Summer makes me crazy — I do not have enough dark to recover from the light. Winter makes me calm.
Which is not to say, I don’t feel sadness, or pain, or depression during the winter. I do. But being able to walk open-eyed into my yard and not feel my skin crawling, as I sometimes do on the hottest and brightest days of summer and fall, makes everything better, more manageable.
People seem confused when I celebrate the summer solstice with gladness (the days will be getting shorter!) or the winter solstice, as beautiful and spirit-filling as it is, with a vague sadness, knowing that before too long the sunshine will stretch across the sky from early to late. Everyone seems to understand being depressed in the winter; they seem to reject the notion that summertime is just as bad for me.
I have friends who will be turning on their light boxes next week. They’ll be trying to recreate the sun they so desperately need. For some of them, November and December brings the same sort of pain that I feel in July and August. I’ll remember that. I’ll be sympathetic as they strive to cope with the winter nights.
I only hope they’ll do the same when I struggle with the summer days.