When I was a little girl I was terrified of the dark. Even my brother’s dares to go in the basement in the dark weren’t tantalizing enough. I’d rather eat a spoonful of mayonnaise with coffee grinds (yes, I really did this, but that’ s another story) than voluntarily go in a dark room. At bedtime I had a ritual of turning off my light switch and, as quickly as I could, running across the room and jumping into my bed before any monsters under my bed, lurking in the dark, could get me. Living in the city at various points in my life taught me never to go into dark parking lots or streets alone. When I read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo as an adult, I begged my husband to come with me to do laundry in the basement. Dark was never my friend.
As a child, in the summer I never got enough time to play, dreading when the streetlights clicked on which signaled it was time to go inside for the night. No playtime in the dark.
It came as a great surprise then, when I recently spent a week in Alaska, that I craved the dark. I didn’t think it possible. At this time of year (May) sunset is at 11:30pm and sunrise at 4:30am. You might think, “Woohoo! So much light!” But let me tell you – it messes with your internal sense of when your body is ready for sleep and when it wants to wake up. I found myself lying in bed at 11pm craving the dark. Wishing someone would push the sun to the other side of the world. Hoping for a night time sky just so I could sleep. Five hours later my body moaned in protest that, “No! It’s not time to get up yet. It’s still light out!”
Flying back to the lower 48 a week later, I never thought I’d hear myself say, “It’s 9pm. Thank goodness it’s dark. I love the dark.”
Life Lesson #5: Embrace the dark. Let your mind and body rest. There’s nothing scary about restoration and, who knows? Something wonderful may await you in the dark.
Pout-Pout Fish learns all about the dark, too, in Deborah Diesen’s brilliant book…