The night is (soon to be) dark and full of terrors


There are friends who are looking forward to the end of daylight savings. Tracy is one of them. She can’t wait. Not just for the extra hours sleep but also because she hates the morning dark. The morning dark doesn’t bother me so much. Partly I think that’s because I’m an early riser. It’s always dark when I get up.

Me, it’s the evening dark I dread. More specifically, it’s riding home in the dark I really dislike. Come fall and winter evening dark, I find it hard to get out after dinner. Partly this is because I have Fuchs Dystrophy, a condition that makes driving at night tricky. You can read about it here, The four eyed athlete. It’s also the subject of a profile over at The Disabled Philosophers blog. The short version: Some nights are okay. It’s clear and my eyes aren’t acting up. But if there is rain and my eyes are going through a rough patch, I don’t drive. City streets are better than highways but dark country roads are the worst.

So if I have a friend who can drive me about, to Aikido, to cycling class, whatever, I’m good. Otherwise, I often choose to stay put. It’s not good for me and I start to feel a bit isolated. Why don’t I bike? I’m not sure actually. I ride home from work in the dark. But there is something about setting out after dark, in the winter, that seems worse. I should just get over that.

There are also fewer people in my house these days and that’s a struggle too. The son who usually watches shows with me, like Game of Thrones and BoJack Horseman is away at college. And the daughter who usually comes to Aikido with me and cooks wonderful vegetarian dinners is away on the west coast.

I have to say I’m nervous going into winter. Truth be told, outdoor sports aside, I’m not a big fan. Cold and dark aren’t my favourite things. I have to work to get out and make an effort. In the last few years I’ve tried fat biking and outdoor skating, in addition to winter running, snow shoeing, and cross country skiing. My big plan this year is to learn to downhill ski. Kim and I might even take classes together.

In the past I haven’t given a thought to winter time depression. This year I’m nervous. It didn’t surprise me to read that the end of daylight savings time makes things worse.

How about you? Are you with Tracy or with me? If we have to have less light, does it matter to you when it occurs? What strategies do you have for battling the winter blues? 

5 thoughts on “The night is (soon to be) dark and full of terrors

  1. I fight depression a lot in winter. The lack of sunlight hurts–I only see it during my morning commute when I’m working in my windowless office. Even being able to drive at night, I can find it hard to go out when it’s dark.

    This year should be better. I’m teaching and working from home. It’s still hard to shake the annual dread at the loss of light that comes with the end of DST.

  2. Dark winter and very cold evening aren’t wonderful. If it’s icy or there will be freezing in forecast, I don’t bike. Yes, true, I do have to motivate myself even if walking 15 min. or so to a store which I should be grateful whch many people live further away from services that force them to travel by car.

  3. You’re in good company dreading this upcoming period of dark (much more difficult, in my view, than the cold). I’m not looking forward to it, either. I’ve done off-road night riding, which has been fun, although I haven’t done it much these days. Will see if I can restart it. In the meantime, here’s a potential shopping opportunity that might make night riding more fun– saw this on FB:
    I’m tempted. Also tempted by the idea of getting a bike painted with luminescent paint. There’s a DIY site here:
    A local bike shop will also do this, but it’s pricey.

    Of course we can’t really buy our way out of seasonal-too-much-dark-antipathy, but I do like the idea of embracing it and becoming one of the cycling illuminati… Will report back on progress.

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