The days are getting shorter now, and when we turned the clocks back last week, it was stunning the difference it made. The sun sets at 3-3:30. The sun rises at around 8, which means I am already getting up and getting ready for work in the dark. I know the change affected me because my body reacted to it, both when I arrived and when the time changed. I would wake at 5 in the morning and be ready for bed at 9. I imagine those of you with small children are wondering what the big deal is! But if you know me well, you know that night is the time I can have the most energy, though I am usually up by 7 or 8 in the morning.
Still, as Lily Tomlin says, it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. We lose six minutes of daylight every day. That's about 45 minutes a week. Grise Fjord, far north on Ellesmere Island, changes 45 minutes a DAY. Soon, they and the other communities north of the Arctic Circle will see the sun set for four months. I'll actually see it next week because I will be in Hall Beach on November 22nd, which is north of the Arctic Circle.
Coping with the dark is one of the biggest challenges of living here. The cold, eh, the cold is something you can dress for. But the dark is another thing entirely. There are too many unhealthy ways to try to forget it. I have attempted to plan for it. I get as much Vitamin D as I can. I own a SAD lamp, because why wait to get SAD? Sitting in front of it is easy enough. I also sit or walk in direct sunlight, when we have it, for at least an hour a day. I go home for lunch, and when the sun is warm in my window, I bask in it while I eat--usually listening to Neko Case. I exercise every day. The endorphins are awesome. I am also lucky enough to have a job that lets me go home for the holidays. I will be in Toronto on the longest night of the year. After that, I can look forward to the days getting longer sooner.
So, we shall see over the next six weeks how I manage with the long journey into the winter solstice.