Blog Post No. 479
Here we are in the middle of winter (or technically the latter half, but it’ll be a while before spring gets here). The days may be getting longer, but it’s still gets dark really early. I’ve found myself commenting a few times that it feels way latter than it actually is. The lack of light is draining. In the winters, I often think about the years my dad spent working in a factory. He would leave for work in the dark, spend all day inside with few or no windows, and drive home in the dark. I don’t have that tough a situation, but the seemingly constant darkness gets to me.
Dark winter evenings exists in a certain space the same way that the time after school but before dinner does. (I feel like these two posts are companion pieces). Instead of coming home from school, though, it’s coming home from work. Even in the winter, there’s still daylight after school. Many evening drives home from the day job are punctuated with sunsets. That’s if I’m not starting my shift at night. No matter where you are, the dark and the cold close off the world.
It’s a little tougher to get back out for evening plans or to do much more than watch television after dinner. The lack of light and the temperature force a half-hearted hibernation. More effort is necessary to doing things in the winter, even in the daylight. Putting on layers, toques, and gloves, scraping the snow and ice off the car, driving more slowly on unplowed roads. It all takes more energy.
Like a fresh snowfall, though, there are moments of magic in the darkness. While I can’t go out to a coffee shop to meet the Wrecking Writing Crew right now, it was much nicer when, in the winter months, we had our choice of tables. With more people staying home, most places had a sense of tentative calm that can’t exist in the bright, warm summers.
When you can’t get out, though, winter evenings can feel a bit lonely. I’m not prone to loneliness, but after months of early sunsets and staying in, even I can feel it. That makes the moments that you spend with friends and family that much more fun, though. I’m sure most people get that antsy feeling when the weather gets warmer and the days get longer.
Summer isn’t my favourite season. I struggle with the heat and I sweat a lot more than I did when I was younger. I’m not saying that I love winter, but I tend to not hate it as much as some. We don’t get deluged with snow in this area, weeks of cold snaps can be broken up with warm days, and there is always the option to put on layers. Also, while I’ve gotten over the summer slumps with my writing, when the dark blanket of winter covers the world, I get more writing done. I’m not totally sure why, but that’s the way it is.
Maybe when the evening is dark and cold, the small bit of joy I get from getting some writing done feels that much more rewarding. Maybe It’s an attempt to block the world out or just a matter of scheduling. Either way, even when the season feels bleak, there is some potential for comfort.