Monday, 24 November 2008

The Dark...

I hate waking up in the dark. Not hate as in ‘with venom’: that kind of hate – like the hate you have for injustice or stupid cruelty – I can cope with, get my teeth into, be passionate about. No, my hatred of waking in the dark – well, of anything in the dark really – is composed more of a cold fear in the pit of my stomach, an atavistic dread seeping through me, a physical teetering on the edge of sanity, if sanity is the ability to remember that most of my life is lived in the light, that it is good, and not be overwhelmed by negativity and despair.

Often, when asked about my favourite time of the year, I say I dislike winter but I don’t, actually. I mean, winter’s got a lot going for it – frost, wonderful light, snow, better stuff on the telly, comfort food. And the clothes - I much prefer winter clothes to summer ones. It’s something to do with the absence of doubt about whether you’re going to be warm enough (constant for me in British ‘summers’), about not having to slap sun screen on for a ten minute think in the garden and not having to sit in people’s gardens as the midges bite and we eat rapildy cooling barbecued food while I lose touch with my extremities...
And I love the lights of winter – Christmas lights on the high street, fairy lights in people’s windows, open fires, candles…

No, it’s the dark I hate and I’m quite capable of hating it in the summer too, it’s just that there’s so much more of it in the winter. Like when you wake up, which is where we came in…

We get up at 6.30 in our house, like lots of people, I guess, to get us all through the shower and a staggered breakfast before leaving for school, work or – in my case – a before-writing walk. Though I’m not the biggest morning person in the world, I’m ok at getting up when it’s light out. I actually resent having to sleep (at all) pretty thoroughly, so getting up and getting on seems like a good plan. But when it’s dark everything in me screams that this is not natural, that we should be being woken up by the sun when the day’s properly beginning, not by a little beepy noise which says ‘I know it’s dark, I know you hate and fear it, but tough, open your eyes and get up.’

I think the light box that the Bassist and I huddle in front of every morning for six months of the year has got to migrate upstairs in the evenings, so that I can flick it on as soon as the alarm goes. I covet one of those dawn-light thingies which simulates sunrise but that’ll have to wait until we’re rich/the boys are through university…

And the point of all this maundering?
I think fear of the dark is, at some quite fundamental level, why I write at all.

8 comments:

Tim Stretton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim Stretton said...

I love the dark!

Maybe it's the conditioned response of the habitual migraine sufferer, where light is the enemy, probing into the brain with probes of exquisite agony. The dark is cool, soothing, enveloping.

But I don't like getting up in it. Or, yet worse, cycling to work in it...

[now with added typo correction]

KAREN said...

I don't enjoy the dark either - I feel quite discombobulated for a while when the clocks go back, it does affect my mood and like you said, seems to go on far too long. Never mind a dawn-light alarm, I need to move somewhere that doesn't get dark until at least 10pm and is light at 6am!

Alis said...

Hi Tim - my Other Half is a migraine sufferer so I sympathise vicariously...

Hi Karen - yes, we just need to live in summer Britain all year round!

Akasha Savage said...

I quite like the dark...especially being outside on a crisp starlit winter's night when all around is still and quiet. I hate having the bedroom curtains closed on the dark, I love being able to gaze out of the window in the middle of the night and see the moon, the stars, and planes cruising through the blackness, all from the cosy warmth of my bed.
I HATE getting up though, be it summer, winter, light or dark!
I am very much an owl, not a lark.

oooh! that last bit read like a poem!!

Juxtabook said...

"I much prefer winter clothes to summer ones. It’s something to do with the absence of doubt about whether you’re going to be warm enough " - you've articulated something perfectly that rattles round in my head when I peer at summer clothes - spot on! To cardi or not to cardi that's the trouble with summer. Hurrah for winter and chunky knitting!

Alis said...

Hurrah for chunky knitting indeed - occasionally I think I should learn to knit as I have unusually long arms and find it difficult to get knits which go all the way down to my hands instead of stopping short of my wrists!

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