The Winter Solstice and the Impact of Darkness

The Winter solstice is about three weeks away. That is the darkest day of the year. According to the internet, in Connecticut, sunrise will be at 7:12 a.m. and sunset will be at 4:24 p.m. That’s nine hours and twelve minutes of daylight. Which means fourteen hours and 48 minutes of darkness. I’m looking forward to it.

There’s a line in A Christmas Carol, “Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.” I’ve always liked that line. You could substitute Gene for Scrooge and it would still be a true statement. Now, I know Dickens wasn’t talking about nighttime and daytime. He was talking about wasting money on candles (and Scrooge’s demeanor). But I like to look at it in the broader sense.

It’s a little bit funny that I like darkness. After all, the most famous impact of darkness on people is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). (Isn’t it a strange coincidence that the official name of the Wintertime blues spells “sad”?) As a depressed person, I’m prone to SAD. My psychiatrist actually told me to get a full spectrum light. I used it faithfully until it broke. I was never sure if it did anything or not. Anyway, SAD is bad, so that’s a strike against darkness.

The thing is, I still like the darkness. It’s hard to explain why. I’ve always loved the Winter and there’s a lot more night in the Winter. There’s nothing like a crisp, cold night. It’s exhilarating, it gets the blood pumping.

Nighttime is strangely comforting, too. I think that has something to do with the moon. I don’t remember where, but I read the other day that the moon is prettier than the sun. It’s true at night. When the moon is out during the day, it loses its majesty. The sun is too much, it’s too in your face. The moon is chill. I can talk to the moon.

I also like the darkness indoors. It drives my mom a little nuts, but I never turn on lights inside. Part of that is that darkness really is cheap. Scrooge was right. I don’t know if that’s why I like it, but it’s a plus. Part of it is that I like the way things look in the dark. There’s more mystery to the world when it’s dark.

I don’t know if anyone agrees with me, but I can’t wait for the Winter solstice. I don’t have anything planned, but I know it’ll be a good day. With almost fifteen hours of darkness, how could it not be?

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