hungry for light
In autumn, I get hungry for light. The satedness of summer has worn off, and for a while I appreciate the weightlessness of a thin sky and a sun not attended by humidity, but it’s not long before I mourn the abbreviated days and the shortening light. By February, I’m starving for it.
This becomes even more true on overcast days, when we get a brilliant slice of sun only twice and so briefly. We wake into darkness, ready ourselves, and, just as we’re walking out the door, the dawn billows gold-pink from behind the house. By the time we’re out of class, the clouds have smothered the sky and turned the day dark.
And then, as we finish dinner, the evening sun flashes in from the front, making the little row of succulents in the window so happy, painting a washed-out rhombus on the floor that creeps up the stairs, the wall, then disappears. We pull the curtains to brace ourselves against the night that comes too early and will only come earlier once we set our clocks back. We pretend that day never has to come.
In the meantime, I take the edge off by switching on the happy light, whose bluish glow I’m always convinced will serve to depress me more. But it doesn’t. Placebo? Maybe, but the tears don’t come so readily.
Or I take a weekend in Wisconsin where, for one day at least, the sky stretches uninterrupted from one long horizon to the other. I travel with my mom to an art studio tour, and on the way we gobble up the open sky and the broad cornfields.
After check-in at the high-ceilinged bed and breakfast, a nap for me, and coffee for her, we choose crepes for dinner. Night settles in as we’re finishing our last bites, so we march into the chill, map in hand, buzzing from one artist’s studio to another, admiring paintings and monoprints and the artist’s pretty wrist. We nibble peanut butter cookies in someone’s garage and learn that their daughter teaches music right here in Holland.
Our legs are stiff and tired, so we retire to our room, read barely a page before our eyes fall closed, and then sleep. Tomorrow the sun will be masked by rainclouds, our window will be foggy and the screen speckled with droplets, but for now we sleep, and the darkness doesn’t matter.