Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Seasonally Affected Native

As soon as the rains came, I knew what to get Patrick for Christmas. Before the rains came, I knew, actually. Had suspicions. Ideas. But when the rains came, and Patrick got headaches and got grumpy and sometimes took two showers a day to warm up, I knew. He says it's not so much the rain as it is the grey, and he's probably right about that. It actually rains more in Huntsville, AL than it does in Seattle, but the lack of sunlight is what really gets him. The interminable grey, stretching from east to west and down into the water, too, so you can't always tell where the sky ends and the sea begins.

I bought him a SAD lamp. More specifically, a HappyLight3000 or something like that. I made him open it at 3 am the night we got back from Alabama, because the forecast was grey skies and showers from now until May.

I've lived in Washington most of my life. I was born here, moved to Las Vegas for a few years, then returned east of the mountains for a few years. At ten, I moved to Woodinville, where I stayed until moving to even drearier Bellingham. But I loved it. I still do. I'm from here, a Pacific Northwesterner through and through, though I cut my teeth on the traffic in Boston and you can tell by the way I change lanes and merge onto freeways without fear.

But I haven't lived here for three years now. Since moving to France, the longest time I had spent in Seattle was around five weeks, in the middle of the dead & cold New Hampshire winter my first year in graduate school. I lived one winter in southern France, where I swam in the Mediterranean in October & early November, and spent most days where the mistral wasn't blowing outdoors in the sun. And though the winters in New Hampshire were rough, the cold was bitter and the snow piled up in great banks alongside the roads, more than two thirds of the year is sunny in New England--beautiful & glaring & cold, but the sun shines nonetheless.

In short, I suppose I've lost my thick skin. I go to work in the dark and I get off work and it's dark and if I see the sun daylight at all it's on the weekends, but then only if it's not dark and cloudy, as it usually is. And it's taking its toll.

I don't know about this winter. I know the days are getting longer and soon when I drive home from work the sun won't set until I walk inside. But I might be fighting with Patrick for a position in front of the SAD lamp before too long.

1 comment:

Chelsea said...

I've considered one of these since moving to Scotland. Also, next time we talk, I'll tell you my connection to Huntsville.