Friday, September 16, 2005

Under lights

I sit here like the plant that I am, soaking up light rays from an Ultralux UL559155, my emergency light bulb having been delivered by Fedex a couple of days ago. I feel ridiculous. And I am more than a little annoyed, and annoyed in the second degree at myself for being annoyed at physical facts that are beyond my capacity to control.

It is barely mid-September, and the light has changed dramatically in this northern clime. Days are short. Late sunrise makes it hard to squeeze in the morning walks I have come to crave, and early sunset simply startles. Where has the day gone? It is an early warning of losses to come, of snow and cold and even more darkness, all part of the cycle to be sure, so how can these changes surprise me so?

I love Vermont’s four seasons, and we have not quite left summer. True, there are orange tips on the trees, and there is sometimes a nip in the air, but mostly we bask in warm sunshine, even as we recognize these are likely the last such days. We bask, but we mourn the loss of summer, and—annoying as it is—we mourn ahead of the loss! Why can’t we enjoy these late summer days for themselves?

Part hibernation instinct, part ant-like need to prepare, part mourning, we watch these last harvest days pass in solemn review. We pack up our school bags and get back to work, feckless children turned again to our sums and sentence diagramming.

But the greatest loss is the loss of the faithless sun. The Ultralux lamp can replace its kind and gentle rays only in one spot in my house—so here I sit, constrained to this one spot, soaking up lumens and mourning the turn of the year. With all the blessings that each season brings, the loss of light is still hard to bear.


zhoen said...

Perhaps if that spot became a sacred place, a shrine, a meditation alcove. Never go there save to pray and photosynthesize. A reward, a comfy chair, treats like you would to train your dogs to like something. Operant conditioning on yourself.

Go to the light.

Jola said...

I can relate to your mourning ahead of the loss. I used to bum out (just a bit) on June 21, knowing that the days would begin to shorten. Then again, I'd celebrate on December 21, which meant the coming of spring.

You must be very, VERY far north.
Because the days are shorter now here in Columbia County, of course, but I'm not feeling it as acutely as you, or the way I used to in NYC. I think it's because there's so much open sky here. (In one long-ago apartment, I'd lose direct light at 3:00 in midsummer, as the sun arced behind the brownstones.) Days feel longer here.

How much are those Ultralux lamps? (I'll google it.) You may want to invest in more than one!

Only 3 more months til the winter solstice. Yikes, girl. Hang in there!

Allison said...

I love my Ultralux. And I agree that the darkness seem to have settled in a little early this year... Good luck this winter!