Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2014 >Daily Dispatch #330

December 11, 2014: Tripping the Light Fantastic

Darkness descends – it’s like a curtain that’s lowered a few minutes earlier every evening. The theatre lights are then dimmed. Those who were smart enough to bring headlights make their way back to the lit lobby. And those who were smart enough to accompany these individuals to the theatre follow on their heels. The rest of us remain seated and grouse; this being far better than repeatedly stubbing toes on the theatre stairs.

I think these kinds of thoughts. In fact, each year I make several analogous comparisons to perceived and real darkness. However, I remain mystified.

When I was younger I didn’t give the absence of light any thought at all. Daylight came and daylight went. I was then living in Fairbanks, working on my MFA in Creative Nonfiction writing. I mainly took night classes. Perhaps I was hanging out in windowless classrooms. Or maybe the classrooms had windows and because it was dark, I just didn’t notice.

I wonder if those who are older have a biological need for more light than do younger people. I know that there is something called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. SAD also stands for sex, alcohol, and drugs, which I think does one as much or more good than sitting under bright lights. My friend Bill Fuller used to go to the Fairbanks Fred Meyers and walk around under their SAD lights – he said that it made him feel less depressed.

I am not depressed. I am also now forcing myself to get out every day, during the daylight hours. No, I’m not depressed. I’m just cognizant.

Most of my Alaskan friends head to Hawaii in the winter. They go for months at a time. I think this is a very good idea. Choose an Island and make it your own. Find cheap digs. Hang out with dolphins. Eat pineapples. Trip the light fantastic.

My friend Patty says that she gets her life back in order when she goes to Hawaii. She told me that she even resumes flossing her teeth, which is something that at this time of year she ceases to do. This alone, is reason enough to go there. I wonder if they have any need for dentists in Hawaii. It could be the oral hygiene capital of the world.

Me, if I were to go anywhere in the winter, I’d go to Cuba. I’ve always wanted to go there and hob nob with Fidel. And I’m constantly being told go now because governmental change is forthcoming. Yep, it would be good to spend time in a country where change is a constant. Provisions might be scarce, which is why I would be sure to take dental floss with me.

Alas, I’m stuck here. If I didn’t have animals to tend to, I could go anywhere. What I worked so hard in life to achieve, a wanderlust lifestyle, has gone down the tubes.

It’s not that bad. Today I went for two trail rides, and both times I took the dogs with me. As I later thought, at least I can get away from it all, even if getting away from it all is only three miles distant from my place. And it did my soul good to see the low lying sun light up the Talkeetna Range.

Ten days until the winter solstice. December 21 is my favorite day of the year. This is because we’ll then be gaining instead of losing light. I say, bring it on.

Next: 331. 12/12/14: Earth to Alys