Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Land of the Noon Moon

I heard on the news that in one months time the sun will rise over Barrows, Alaska. To be specific the people in that fair city haven't seen the sun for a month and, unless they travel, won't experience its warmth on their shoulders for yet another 30 days.

Yesterday, as I did the late afternoon taxi thing to kids' activities, in the dark, I wondered what it would be like not to see the sun for weeks on end. To eat, sleep, go to school, shop, run the taxi, and to play in the dark. I wondered if the people walk around wearing reflective clothing so they can be seen like the evening joggers that pass my house? Do the kids play outside when the temperatures warm to a balmy 15 degrees above zero. (Can the temperature get that high without the benefit of the sun?) Today and for the next 10 days it looks like this would be a marked improvement over the predicted subzero temperatures. And I doubt mothers in Barrows have my problem of kids refusing to wear their winter coat because its not really cold out. I would think if you stepped outside, without several layers on, in Barrows you'd freeze into the human popicle I'm always screaming about.

In the summer (or is it really in the light) I am more apt to start a project after dinner. Now I tend to clean up the kitchen (sometimes) and then curl up with a book or a movie for the evening. And what I noticed over the past two years is, come February, after dinner, I'll get itchy to do something, (not the dishes), and work on a project that's been hanging over my head. If people in Barrows have this same mentality then nothing would get done in the winter. So instead of taking their activity cues from light they must be clock watchers. Where if the little hand is on 6 and the big hand is on 12 its time for dinner and not bed.

The article went on to say that some people experience the no light winter blahs and will lavishly decorate with Christmas lights to brighten up their space and their lives. Is that what we do here in the not so frozen northeast? Do we put up lights to claim back some of the ebbing sunlight. If Christmas were in June, (or if we lived in South America), would we go so wild over Christmas lights? Would we plan trips just to look at them?

Since I don't really like driving around after dark (can't really say at night now, can I) and I'm not crazy about cold weather, I don't think I'm a candidate for moving to Barrows, but I would love to visit in the dead of winter. I want to experience the lack of daylight, see if I can lose all track of time and schedule and eat lunch by the light of the noon moon.


Anonymous said...

Hey, PT!
I think you have the soul of an essayist. I could envision you as a regular columnist some day.
Keep up the great work!


Idiot Cook said...

Before I read SW's comment, I was getting ready to write the EXACT same thing. Your writing consistently amazes me, and I love watching you flex your muscles on this blog. KEEP IT UP!!!