“I can’t believe how early it gets dark,” my friend said as we drove home from a shopping expedition. I agreed. “I don’t mind the cold as much as the short days,” I said with a sigh. “I don’t seem to get certain things done when it’s not daylight.” She agreed and we went on to speak of other things. Later I thought about our conversation. It seems to me that there are tasks, like cleaning and tidying that go much better in the daylight.
I find these and other kinds of chores more difficult or less appealing to me once the sun has gone down. In addition, when it gets dark early I feel like going to bed earlier. As the daylight diminishes, my body begins to slow down, even cool off. I get cold at night, a soak in a warm bath is inviting. My appetite is bigger, yet I’d rather eat a hearty lunch and a light supper. Certain patterns reemerge each November.
Nor as it as easy to get up while it is still dark. My bed is infinitely more inviting at this time of year. It is almost as though I could hibernate. I find myself wanting to wrap up and snooze the hours away. Fall is an invigorating time, good for beginning projects, getting out and about, and trying new things. Winter is a time for contemplation and inner work, finishing up what I’ve begun and continuing with what I have learned. The seasonal rhythms are an important part of how our bodies adjust to the seasons.
When I can, at whatever time of year I am living through, I follow my natural inclinations. I can’t always, and certainly in our Western society, not everyone can do this at all; the demands of jobs, life and family often prevent it. Yet when we are able to do this, we benefit from the peace that can come from our attunement to the seasons–slowing down and resting with the trees, the plants and the creatures, as the dark hours surround and nurture us all.