Monday, October 20, 2008

I Never Said It Was Rational



Brother Sun is sleeping in later each day, sneaking away beneath the western horizon earlier each night. Because the leaves haven't yet fallen off the trees, it's hard to catch any direct sunlight except at midday. The little pools of gold that do find their way to the ground are like treasure chests - fleeting, ephemeral treasure chests that disappear within minutes.

Autumn is the time of year when my primitive lizard brain gets activated by the sunset. I'll be in the middle of working on a client when suddenly I notice I'm very anxious, almost panicked, as the day fades away. What am I afraid of? The dark?

Can't be night I'm reacting to, since once it's completely dark, I immediately calm down. Strange, isn't it? This fear of sunset thing never happens during the spring or summer. By the time it gets dark in summer, it's usually a relief. The land can cool down, I can rest. But late fall/winter sunsets completely freak me out. Go figure.

21 comments:

Val said...

we call it Eugene Marais hour. He wrote a book called the Soul of the Ape in which he studied a troop of baboons and noted that they also got depressed and agitated around sunset - youngsters also have an activity surge around this time. He suggested it was the origins of the 'sundowner' in man. kinda makes sense? also the onset of winter is a seasonal reminder of the cycles of life.

love your photos - so beautiful
thanks for your always thought provoking posts
xx

lacochran said...

I, too, have that "uh oh" feeling at sunset. Especially on Sunday nights. Like life is draining away too fast. At least it passes and we get to celebrate the rest of the time.

Lori ann said...

This is the first time i have ever heard this put into words. Reya, your description is perfect. Thanks Val also, for a very interesting comment.Is the sundowner you are refering to the kind that comes as a cocktail?

Reya Mellicker said...

Val, that is so cool. I knew it was instinctual! It's so deeply ingrained though that no matter how I try, I can never quite manage to laugh it off. I have resigned myself to feeling jittery until it gets completely dark.

Lacochran I agree about Sunday nights. Wonder why they're so much creepier? It's not about the work week for me, since I work Friday-Monday. Very interesting combination of instinct and behavior pattern.

I've never had a sundowner cocktail. Sounds good! I'll have to try one sometime.

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh.

Maybe sundowner is another term for what we Americans call "Happy Hour." Yes?

Steve said...

Sunday nights are often kind of melancholy. I always attributed it to the work week, and before that to school, but who knows! At any rate, it DOES seem like the days are getting noticeably short.

tut-tut said...

Oooh, I was just going to point out what lacochran and Steve have said.

Very thought provoking indeed.

SuzieQ said...

It is in fall that the available light changes, to a photographer's eye, so much more quickly than in summer. I'm a "night owl" but still love watching those fleeting moments of sundown..

ArtSparker said...

Some Cats race madly around the house at that time - counter phobic? & there are all those festival involving light on the darkest days of the year, going back to the Romans...

ArtSparker said...

Afterthought:

And here face down beneath the sun
And here upon earth's noonward height
To feel the always coming on,
The always rising of the night
-from You, Andrew Marvell by Archibald MacLeish

Chimera said...

#Rage rage against the dying of the light!' To misquote Dylan Thomas.
I am frightened of the onset of dark and find going to bed hard. Makes sense for me I s'pose!
Ahhh your photos. Balm on my heart.
Thank you
T x

goatman said...

Sundowning is the name given to altzhiemers folks when they seem to lose their bearings about this time of the day.
But I wouldn't be surprised if it were also a drink.

Pam said...

...and then there's that strange time around sunset when the under-four year olds get whiny and difficult and sometimes downright unbearable.We used to call it the witching hour and used to dread it.Maybe there is something instinctual.I always thought it was something more than tiredness or hunger.Maybe there are children who have this same fear of sunset thing, but can't express it word-wise.

Reya Mellicker said...

It's encouraging to know I'm not the only one. My rational DC friends always blink and frown when I talk about my sunset freakouts.

Here's an irony: My name - Reya - is short for Reyasdottir which means "daughter of the sunset." I was born at sunset. Funny, yes?

Nao Sims said...

I know exactly what you mean, it happened to me tonite, whilst making a curry. I noticed that the kitchen window showed my reflection instead of the mountains. And I thought, yes, indeed, the darkness is upon us.

Angela said...

Reyasdottir? Are you Icelandish? No wonder then that you are such a mystic! And did you know that apart from the Argentinians it is the Finnish people who are the best and most enthusiastic tango dancers? When the long dark winter sets in with only three hours of sunlight they either commit suicide (very widespread) or dance the tango! Or sit in a sauna with an aquavit, of course.

Val said...

yes 'sundowner' any alcoholic beverage taken around sunset to allieviate the natural sinking feeling! so happy hour - same thing?
angela - tango dancing is by far the better option!! or the sauna...
xx

Reya Mellicker said...

Yes, happy hour - same thing.

Angela I am only Icelandic in spirit. Reyasdottir is the name I was given at my initiation into the Reclaiming tradition of post-modern wicca. My given name is Rebecca.

Interesting, though, that when I submitted my DNA to National Geographic last year, I learned that the closest genetic relatives on my mother's side of the family are the Saami reindeer herders of Finland and the extreme northern edge of Russia.

Angela said...

You see? It`s all in your genes! Shall I send you some of the tango music which my cousin from Buenos Aires mailed me?

Reya Mellicker said...

Angela, yes please!!

lettuce said...

this is so interesting

i usually love dusk (except sometimes, as steve says, when the following day is monday...)
but i can see how it might feel like a downer

lovely words and colours here reya. the little pools of gold are like treasure chests