Monday, December 3, 2012

The darkening of the year

I've had several things I wanted to write about recently but haven't. It's sort of a trend right now with me, with many Alaskans. The darkness has been feeling particularly oppressive the past week or so and it's getting me down. Not that I've been feeling depressed by any means, I'm still quite happy, but I'm feeling a need to hibernate. Staying at home in comfy pajamas under warm blankets and reading until my eyes cross is what I want to do. Since I can't stay home all day, I've been reading as much as possible anyway. Six books in a week? No problem! (They were short and easy reads.)
It's the time of year when I trudge through the dark and the cold (-40 today) to sit in my north-facing office all day, and leave again in the dark. If I didn't get out for a short walk after lunch every day I'd never get to see the sun, just the light of it bouncing off the other buildings around. It's not enough. Even with my walk, it's not enough. I want to strip naked and soak up the sun. (The thought of frostbite, hypothermia, and getting arrested, however, are big enough deterrents that I haven't.)
There's a series of yoga positions which, together, are known as the sun salute. I'm not much for yoga myself (to be honest, it bores me) but at this time of year, I totally get that one. I, too, want to stand on a hill at noon when the sun is low on the horizon, but actually visible, and salute it until it goes down. I want, once again, to feel its warmth, even though it won't feel warm again until sometime in the spring. For now, its light would be enough. I wish I could just stand there and let it touch my skin.
All last week I was looking forward to the weekend, when I could sit in the sunshine and sort of recharge myself. When I thought about the weekend I didn't think about hanging out with friends (which we did, and it was fun) or the date we had planned (we finally saw "Skyfall"), I thought about breakfast on Saturday morning. I allow myself to sleep until 10:00 on weekends, which at this time of year is right about when the sun starts coming up.
It was lovely to actually wake with the sun, to go prepare a simple breakfast, and then to sit in the light from the south-facing window, reading and eating, drinking my tea. I sat there for over an hour, simply enjoying the sunlight. The only reason I moved was because the chair got uncomfortable. I positioned one in the living room to face the south as well and continued my reading from there. It was both peaceful and perfect, the best part of my weekend.
My cat has always been incredibly sensitive to me. When I'm ill, he's often the first indication that something is wrong, even before stuffy noses and fevers, because he'll suddenly become snuggly and affectionate, not leaving my side. Since he's not normally a particularly affectionate cat (he merely tolerates being picked up, doesn't like snuggles, and only wants to be petted when he initiates the contact) it's unusual. For the past week or so he's been extraordinarily affectionate with me, even going so far as to lie across my stomach for most of the night. I get frequent headbutts of affection, and I can't sit down to read without having a cat in my lap. But I'm not sick, and don't seem to be getting sick. I can only conclude that he's just as sensitive to my moods and is trying to "fix" me with constant snuggles. I don't mind at all.

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