The summer solstice is fast upon us. Energy is running high, even though our British summer has been late in coming. I hesitate to call this a midsummer celebration, for summer has yet to start! Yet, the sun’s course remains the same, and the time of the longest daylight is soon here.
There have been many studies on the effect of the sun upon our bodies – we know that people in these northern latitudes can often suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD during the long winter months when there is very little sunlight. I would posit that SAD can also affect us in the time of greatest light. I’m no scientist, but it makes sense to me.
While not the reverse or polar opposite of SAD’s depressive symptoms, Summer SAD (or SSAD as I shall call it) can affect us in much the same way. There is always so much to do, everyone is buzzing with high energy, and we can often feel tired. All the time. It’s a case of surfing that energy, or fighting against it, or letting it roll over your head in drowning waves. In the latter two, we can succumb to apathy – after fighting for so long we just give up, let people do as they will, let the fates decide. The high amount of daylight can make us yearn for a dark, quiet place to be at times. Retreat to the cool shade, to the darker cave, back to the womb, back to mother…
The days are so long – there is so much that we can accomplish, that we can achieve with this amount of light. We can be even more productive, riding the cresting waves of light. Or we can take a step back and look to our ancestors at this time of year. In an agrarian year, this would normally be the time of year when there is a brief respite; the crops have been planted, and now it is up to nature to do as she will until harvest-time. A time to rest, to recoup, to gather our energy together in anticipation of a long hard harvest. A time for celebration.
So, a kind of meeting-in-the-middle is currently where I am – burdened by so many things to do and so much activity going on all around me, festivals and dance performances and weddings, people with demands, all of them – I want to retreat into a cool, dark place and hide while at the same time stretch out lazily in the sun, or move my body in joyous ecstasy in the few hours of star-filled darkness that we get between the hours of midnight and 3am here on these isles. I want to take a break, but it’s not time, not yet. There is still too much to do. Feeling SSAD quite strongly at the moment, I have a summer holiday coming up at the end of June, which I am very much looking forward to. Time to do nothing, until it all explodes again in the autumn with work, our biggest dance show, and a very important wedding and celebration.
I haven’t experienced SAD, the winter version – I have always loved winter. I love all the seasons equally, actually. Summer just seems to go by so quickly, these days, trying to fit too much in each and every day. Feeding the energy that’s creating these rises and swells in the tides of summer, we can create havoc in our lives. So, time to look towards creating the calm, to release the energy to avoid the tidal wave, to find an outlet and to dream long and deep in the brief hours of darkness.