The long night is beginning. It started slowly and quietly two and a half weeks ago. Most people have noticed by now. In one of my classes, I heard a fellow in passing mumble something about, “You know, it’s so dark now this time of year…” The long night is usually invoked as an explanation for failures. Tardiness, oversleeping, breaking engagements, and generally engaging in hibernating and denning behavior. It’s the reason for the seasonal affective disorder.
I love the long night. Historically, I become nocturnal during this time of year. The relevance of the sun’s rhythm fades and stretches along with the shadows which daily block it’s rays from affecting my life. Currently, we have four hours of daylight a day. Come solstice, it will be about two. We who live in the lowland swamp, the frozen tundra, shaded by the tall spruce have adapted to life in the dark. Our mark is the headlamp worn around the neck at all times. We cannot afford to live among the colorfully pale birch that only grow on the hills, up where the warmest air currents float. In this land of extremes, the lowest elevations pool with the coldest air, reaching points on the thermometer only read about by those who dwell on the hills.
During this time of year, the entire town turns down the volume. Everyone seems muted in action, emotion, and meaning.
I look forward to the long night.