The light nights return tomorrow. An end to the darkness seems to have taken forever; the temperature still remains obdurately low, with more frost forecast next week. In former times, when being wealthy one day was still a dream, the idea of switching hemispheres at the equinoxes seemed attractive – France from March to September and Australia from September to March. No more grey Novembers; no dim, dark days of Christmas; no January blue Mondays; no searching for signs of spring in February. A recurrent dream was waking in the early hours of a January morning to see bright sunshine all around.
Perhaps the darkness of the days was no more than an excuse; an attempt at rationalisation; a seeking after an explanation of why the world was grey and far away and why no task was simple. There could equally be moments in May or June when lightness was as difficult to find; when a heavy fog filled all perspectives. Sometimes, the clouds would break and beams of sunshine would transform the greyness; but, just as quickly, the chinks would close over and the weighed down feeling would return.
Retrospectively, chunks of time appear under a shadow. Perhaps it was because little happened to mark the passing of the days, like low lying land beyond a hill, weeks and months would disappear beyond some major event.
The absurd counting of time still persists, it is 163 days until the annual holidays, but the shadows are no more than intermittent.
The weekly glass of Croft Original Sherry can resume tomorrow, the Lenten abstinence being over. Things, on the whole, are not so bad; the objective realities of life are very good, the problem lies in perceptions and the perceptions are shaped by chemical balances, or imbalances.
If it was a matter of chemical processes within the brain, then there must be a way of adjusting the processes. ‘Plenty of exercise’ advised the one half reasonable pastoral response; much wiser advice than too many glasses of sherry.
The low cloud cover pushed upwards to make way for something no worse than an overcast day. Perhaps overcast is the best for which to hope; leopards do not change their spots, even after a second glass.
Moments, like black thunderstorms on August days in France, still strike; a mood of happiness can be replaced a minute later by a deep despondency. Most times, though, it is manageable, and manageable is not so bad.