You know that feeling of relief around 21 December, when from now on, the evenings are going to get lighter? Today I have a similar feeling as the nights start to draw in.
Don’t get me wrong, I love summer evenings – sitting with friends as the barbeque cools and the scents of the impending darkness fill the air, calling the children in from the far ends of the camp site as it approaches ten o’clock, coming home all nice ‘n’ lazy because it’s light and it will stay that way for – oooh – hours and hours. I luxuriate in the ease of summer.
But there’s another side (should I say a shadow side?) to the gloriously long evenings of June.
Why I feel relief at the summer solstice
What about the times when I’m tired or sad and all I want is to get home, have a bath and get into my pyjamas? It’s just not the same doing that in daylight.
What about the moments when I long to create a womb-like space in which to curl up, light a candle and pray? I need to do that all the year round but in summer there is often a dissonance between the callings of my inner world and the long, glaring hours of light.
I’m not complaining. One of the many things I enjoy about living in England is its climate and the contrast between its winter nights and summer days.
But as the year is poised on this, the summer solstice, I salute and welcome the start of the hemisphere’s descent into darkness, just as, in six months’ time, I will welcome its ascent into light.