Now that the clocks have gone back, the nights truly are drawing in. Here in Somerset, the sun sets well before 5pm now and it’s pretty much dark by six. Which means that, for the days when I’m working at home, we’ve had to switch to our ‘winter’ evening schedule. But, to be honest, I’m struggling.
In the summer months, I work until about 5.30pm and then take the dogs for a walk or a run, depending on how we’re feeling, for an hour or so. We then come home and get on with our evening chores. In exceptional circumstances, we do a bit more work. And on a rare occasion, we might just hunker down with a good book until Natalie gets home.
In winter, though, it gets dark that much earlier. And running around in the dark with two dogs isn’t as much fun as you might imagine. Or especially safe. Especially when one of the dogs is black and, therefore, practically invisible. Anyway, part of the fun of wandering around our local countryside is the views, which are significantly more appealing when you can actually see them.
And so, once the clocks go back, we switch things up a bit. We bring the dog walk / run forward to about 3pm, which means we’re back shortly after four. The plan is then that I get back on with some work until about 7pm or so, at which point Natalie gets home and we launch into whatever we have planned for the evening.
Except there’s a bit of a problem. And I’m afraid it’s me.
Once we’ve been out for a walk or a run and I’ve fed the dogs, had a shower (if necessary) and got myself a nice hot cup of tea, the last thing I feel like doing is getting back to work. Because it’s cold, it’s dark and it’s basically wintertime. And my inner caveman is telling me that it’s time to hunker down.
So what I really want to do is curl up on the settee with the dogs and read a book, play my banjo (this isn’t a euphemism, I really do play the banjo), do some crafting (I needle felt, just very badly) or plan what I’m going to grow in the garden next year. What I do not want to do is sit at my desk and tap away on my laptop.
This happens every year. Yet it always comes as a bit of a shock to my system. I know I’ll get over it as I become habitated to the dark evenings. But for the moment it remains something of a struggle. Between my usual, conscientious self and the ancient part of my psyche that sees the darkening evenings as a sign that it’s time to withdraw, to hunker down, to stay warm and safe in my burrow.