At 4pm today I needed lights on in the house. It was dark; or at least dark enough. As I drove to the train station at 4:15pm, I needed the headlights on. My body feels the dark now. St. John’s Wort has given me welcome relief from the depression of the lengthening night, but today–for the first time–I felt the deep desire to withdraw: to climb into a warm bed and remain (at least until the sun returns).
The dark may finally be impacting me because community has retreated. I have had visitors almost the entire Autumn and early Winter. First, a dear friend and initiator was here for a week; then a craft sister and friend for another week; and most recently, two of my sweet friends brought my faery god-daughter for three weeks! This has me musing on the role of community at different times of the solar year.
For instance, here in Ireland this is the traditional time for story-telling. I have mentioned previously the taboo against story in the summer half of the year. I wonder now how much of this was purely practical. Not just work-wise, as there would be less physical work engaged in during the winter, but also, psychologically. I have been brought to task on this blog, by a friend who is a scholar in the field, for being over simplistic in my approach to folklore, but Professor Ó Crualaich (in The Book of the Cailleach)makes much about the theaurapeutic role story and folklore played for oral cultures.
Might the telling of story, and the gatherings those sessions required, during the long dark have played a significant role for a community suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Soon enough I will escape the solitude and stillness of the dark. Like a magical bird, I will take flight– returning for a time to the land of wide sky and high sun. I am spending the holiday back home with family, and there are three things I am looking particularly forward to:
Margaritas, BBQ, and REAL Mexican food! 🙂