Thursday, September 22, 2005

Creature of the Sun

With the exception of Iceland or one of the Scandinavian countries, I can think of few places I would rather spend the summer than Ireland. At the peak of summer, dawn starts around 4 and dusk lasts until nearly 11. As an added bonus, it never gets too unbearably hot. I wore shorts about 3 times this summer and only had about a week in June where it was difficult to sleep at night.

Despite my fear of UVA and UVB rays, I am a creature of the sun. I need a certain amount of exposure to its life-giving yellow goodness or I become cranky and depressed. My body automatically sets its little alarm clock to the sun. Unless I've been drinking too much beer or mainlining caffiene or decided to play lazy, I usually wake up during the dawn. (When I was a kid, my parents hung a thick scratchy army blanket over my window so I wouldn't wake up - they called it a black-out curtain.) Within an hour or two of sunset, I'm inexplicably sleepy.

Summer in Ireland is good for me - good for my creativity, my mental health and my sleep cycle. Winter in Ireland is not going to be so good for me. Besides the fact that it lashes ice-cold rain on a regular basis, the sun goes on a radically reduced work schedule. Dawn is around 8 and it's completely dark by 5.

September and October are bittersweet for me. I love the quality of the light in the fall - the warm, soft light, like something out of an impressionist painting or the way they used to light Cybil Shephard's character on Moonlighting. But I'm painfully aware that each day, we have a little bit less of the sweet sunlight and a little bit more darkness.

Right now, dawn is around 6 here and it's dark around 8. I've found it much more difficult to haul myself out of bed in the morning. By 9 pm, I am thinking about putting on my pajamas and brushing my teeth. Sleeping in the fall, with the window open and the cool breeze filling the room, turns on my hibernation instinct.

I miss summer and I'm not ready for winter. But I hope I can enjoy fall for what it is, instead of lamenting what it is not and dreading what it will become.


At 22 September 2005 at 17:16, Blogger Shane said...

I've been dreading the end of summer since it began. I've been thinking about going to a tanning place if it really starts to get me down.

Human's need for sun has it's roots in where we've come from. The areas of the world where apes and monkeys come from are almost always equatorial: Brazil, Congo, Borneo. In Borneo (and any area on or near the equator) they have the same amount of sun light every day all year.

At 22 September 2005 at 18:35, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

I am a native Angeleno and Summer is easily my favorite time of year. I love to feel the sun on my back and stare out at the ocean.

At 24 September 2005 at 02:13, Blogger Career Guy said...

Excellent phrasing at the end there. Nice job. I always tell your mother that June 21 is not the first day of summer, but rather the first day of winter, since the days start getting shorter at that point. Thus, December 21 is not the beginning of winter, but marks the advance of spring, as the days start getting longer. So, by this philosophy, you are either depressed all summer or elated all winter. Perverse, ain't it?


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