For the week leading up to the winter solstice we decided not to use any lightbulbs in order to really experience the effect of the darkest days of the year. I had no true expectations going in other then it was going to be harder to cook. What I came out with was a profound change in my daily rhythm. The simple absence of bright light after the sun went down quickly changed how busy we were after sunset. We ate dinner earlier, did quiet family activities together, went to bed early.
Both girls went to bed earlier then I had imagined they would. I also went to be earlier then I had imagined I would. It was more like I passed out at 8:30 every night. My body seemed to need the darkness more then I realized. I thought I would stay up knitting and reading by candle light and instead I found myself pulled to bed. There was only one night I stayed up until 10:30; normally I’m up until midnight to get in my “me time”.
I really enjoyed this slowness. The rest of the family did as well. The slowness of the evening flowed into our days as we all seemed to calmer with less tantrums.
We only made the mistake three times of turning on the lights and almost instantly turned them off again. Funny enough always during the day time.
You are probably wondering as well how many candles we went through? Because we went to bed so early each night, we only ended up using two candles every two days. The Christmas tree was a big help as well. We figured it gave off a bit less light then a fire place. In an effort to have S be involved in the process, we made candles. I bought a lovely kit from Toadily Handmade. The kit says that it is for children ages 5 and up, but I found S had no problems rolling the wax once I got it started. We made 24 candles total. Each candle lasts about 5-6 hours as long as there is no wind or excessive air movement.
We plan on doing this again for the summer Solstice and see how different it feels to have so much more day light. I look forward to making this apart of our Solstice celebrations every year, giving us a time to really slow down and reflect, to change our rhythm and observe the light around us and how it affects our bodies and minds.