Since May began I’ve been waking up with a start, sensing that I’ve overslept. Probably by hours. Sunlight streams around the edges of the blinds and through the eyelets of the fancy German curtains and filters across the bed, the light hardwood floor, and fills all the air in the room. It’s too bright, and it’s too hot to be wrapped in a comforter. Sounds of cars passing by the open screenless windows on their way to the Autobahn are too loud and I feel heavy and exhausted all over.
A quick check of my cellphone on the bedside table reveals instead that it’s nowhere near time to get up. In fact, this awful feeling has been creeping ever closer to five in the morning. Two hours or so before I need to wake up and get ready to go to my German class.
I’d been prepared for the exaggerated hours of darkness in fall and winter – as prepared as I could be at least. The late morning sunrises and late afternoon sunsets bordering a short, often cloudy or foggy, day. The feeling of wanting to sleep more or to stay comfortable indoors that comes with the combination of cold and a lack of light.
But the lack of darkness is not at all what I expected it to be. The feeling of wanting to get up earlier, to stay out later, to eat and be active at different times of day is perhaps just as exhausting. In the evening it always seems delightful. It’s nearly 10 p.m. and barely dark? It’s fantastic, and the nights themselves may nearly end as spring comes to a close and makes way for summer.
It’s the mornings that are the worst – the downside to the “be careful what you wish for” experience; the end that comes from all good things. Restlessly attempting to return to sleep in a bright sunshiny bedroom is simply unnatural. To ignore the natural signal of the start of day feels lazy, though to do otherwise is ridiculous. I tell myself that it should still be dark, that it’s time to sleep, and roll away from the windows to dream for a few hours more of the solid afternoons and perpetual evenings – looking on the figurative bright side of the endless days.