Dark Days

Having read Some Kind of Fifty‘s post on the subject of how we get through the coming seasons, I got to thinking about how I deal with the short, dark, days of winter myself. I am sure I am affected by SAD, but there are some facets of autumn and winter I enjoy and I have a number of interests that help to pull me through those times until spring is truly here.

Obviously, we have autumn colours and frequently unexpectedly fine, sunny, and warm days to cheer us, but even when it’s cold and the weather less than hospitable, the days short and the nights long, I still like to get outside. With decent cold / wet weather clothing there is still a huge amount of pleasure to be had from walking in the autumn and winter. I love the many contrasts – a tree that is luxuriant and full of life in the summer sunshine may be stark, spectral, and spooky in the winter, maybe looming darkly through a thick mist. Photography seems, to my mind, more interesting in these times.

And that weather – rain! I love rain! I’m happy to be out in it, but love it especially when I’m indoors and listening to it pound on the roof. Clouds – thick and grey and looming low and moody. So atmospheric! Hopefully, too, we get some snow…

But it’s not all just going out walking. We tend to gather together indoors far more once the short days come around. Sitting around log fires in pubs, chatting, drinking beer, or at home with the log burner lit and a book and music, a time of thick soups and hot bread, casseroles, and hot drinks.

And, of course, we get those unexpected warm, clear, sunny days now and then.

Yule – the winter solstice, the midwinter point, has a great attraction for me. I think of Christmas in terms of Yule, especially as we don’t know exactly when Yule was celebrated. I suspect it was around the 25th December, since by that time carefully observing when the sun rose and set would have told the ancients that the days were indeed beginning to lengthen again. I have no Christian belief, but to celebrate that point where the days begin to draw out again makes perfect sense to me. So cut some winter greenery for decoration, get the fire going, and celebrate in whatever way seems most appropriate for you. In my case, music, books, and a few beers, naturally!

And then there will be spring, and by the end of March the days will already be longer again than the nights. I might even write a blog post on the subject.

17 thoughts on “Dark Days

  1. This is a lovely post, Mick, apart from the fact that you have SAD in the winter. My sister has this, too, and uses one of those special light boxes, which she says really helps. You might want to consider this, too, if you’re very troubled by it.

    However, I can see how many things there are about the autumn and winter dark mornings and evenings you enjoy, which is great. I feel the same, not, perhaps, about the dark mornings, but I like the cosiness of the evenings with the curtains drawn, the lights on, reading a good book and having the company of Peanut, my cat, as she stays in during the evenings and night.

    Your photos are lovely, as always. When was the snow picture taken? I wonder because we’ve not had snow for what seems like years now. It’s getting more unlikely that it will be any different in the future because of climate change. I also love the atmospheric photo of the tree in the mist/fog. Walking in the rain; now, that’s an experience. I used to like to do that before I needed a wheelchair. It’s not so much fun now that I have to ‘drive’ and don’t have a spare hand for a brolly. Still, you never know what the future holds. Thanks for sharing this, Mick. It’s made my day a little brighter x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ellie, as always. I get out as much as possible in the winter months, which I’m sure helps the SAD. I’ve read about light boxes, but can’t see my using one. In some ways, when we get an unexpected sunny day it’s another reason to get out there.

      The snow picture was taken during the ‘Beast from the East’ week, in 2018. That was the last time we had any snow, other than a few stray flakes.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Summer is great, Robbie, but even I wouldn’t want it to last all year. The whole cycle of the turn of the seasons, certainly here in Britain, is one of growth and renewal, and that must include those days when it seems everything has died – although they haven’t really, and part of the pleasure is seeing those signs of new growth.

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  2. I love this, Mick, it’s as though you’re talking yourself out of another season of dealing with the winter blues. I’m inclined to feel a lot less hopeful and cheerful as the days grow shorter, too, but I totally agree with you about photography and your examples make the point – particularly the fog photo, that’s wonderful! Being in touch with seasonal changes and marking them – somehow! – is important.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One advantage of getting older – and retired – is on those short days you no longer have to worry about going to work in the dark, and coming home again in the dark. And instead of having to deal with whatever headache the day’s duties throw your way, there’s maybe the option of checking out trees in fog, or the earth in a fresh white parka.

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