Posted by: itneverrainsinseattle | February 22, 2010

The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul

I’m not quite sure when it happened, but sometime during my marriage to Penny, my favorite time of year changed from the month of June (the long days! the late nights!) to the day of December 21st.

While I have gone through bouts of depression over the past few years, there’s every reason to believe that part of the cause has been a lack of sunlight during Seattle’s “overcast season*.” (Another cause, of course, would be feeling trapped in a loveless, affectionless marraige.) So, why would my favorite time of the year be the shortest day of the year?

Because, well… it could only get better. The daylight hours had gotten as short as they can, and they had to get better. I’ll also note that Christmas was just around the corner, and up until a few years ago, I also enjoyed Christmas immensely. The fact that Penny always got (gets) extremely wound up and stressed out because of Christmas has certainly taken the enjoyment out of the festivities for me, but up until a few years ago, it was still something I could appreciate. And that, combined with the notion that the days were about to get longer just filled me with a calm sense of… okayness.

I don’t think I’ve quite hit my December 21st just yet in terms of where my life is at. But it’s getting close. Some random blow to anyone’s health notwithstanding, we’re likely nearing the bottom of how far we can fall financially. Sure, I suppose we could remain unemployed for years, and become a homeless broken family wandering the streets of Seattle. Penny would get to panhandle with the kids on Mondays and Tuesdays, and I could beg on the highway off ramps with the kids on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and we’d alternate which tent city the kids would call “home” each weekend.

Except… Penny and I are both smart people, and despite the fact that neither of us come from wealthy families, we do have resources. We’ll find a way to get by whilst we rebuild our careers and our financial house. Even so, things may get a little worse before they get better, but not likely too much worse.

And as for my marriage… well, we hit the bottom a long time ago, and it’s all upward from here. Emotionally, I know I’ve already started to rebound from the bottom.

After the literal December 21st, it still takes a few weeks to notice that the daylight hours are getting just a wee bit longer. But you know it’s coming. And that knowledge has power.

We’re nearing the apex of the winter of this marriage. Our December 21st is just around the corner. And with it comes the promise that things are soon to get better.

As I write this, I have not yet headed off to bed. It’s just past 3am on a Monday morning. Is there any darker hour than 3am on a Monday?

And oh my, is it dark out there tonight/this morning. No signs of light out there. Even the owls are quiet right now, it’s so dark. But I’m about to publish this post, review my list of things to do on Monday, and go to bed.

When I wake up, it will be lighter outside, with no further effort on my part.

And after I wake up, I’m going to send out those resumes, make those phone calls, and continue looking for other sources of income. And with a great deal of effort on my part, this financial mess will ease up.

And as the financial outlook improves, I can move out and move on. Rebuild my life. Maybe even find some affection and love out there.

It’s dark right now. The long dark teatime of the soul, as Douglas Adams once called it. But I’m not sad. I’m not scared of the dark. I’m okay. Because I know that the day must follow the night, and that the spring must follow this winter. And with spring comes rebirth, renewal, light… and hope.

* I’d say “rainy season,” but it never rains in Seattle.



  1. Ahhh, yes. And let’s not forget ‘it’s always darkest before the dawn.’ While the rain may come and go, know that there will always be a fresh new day. We’re both going through a lot of changes right now. Chin up. (And I expect you to help me keep mine up as well…;) ) We can do this. We’ll find everything we’re looking for…in time.

    In the meantime…know that I’m thinking of you and rooting for you!

  2. I love the phrase “long dark teatime of the soul.” Actually, I find the literal drinking of tea to be a real boost during these long winter days. Spring is truly right around the corner, and in the mean time, keep writing!

  3. Oh Inris, to echo Nicki, tomorrow (today) is a new day. Keep going. I’ve walked in your shoes. It will get better.

  4. You’re amazingly strong…I can’t imagine being in your situation right now, yet you have your head up, you are optimistic and you know that while things may get a little worse, they will get better, and eventually, become amazing. You’re doing great, and I sure hope the light comes soon for you…very soon. (and seriously, go to bed before 3 am, that’s crazy!) 🙂

  5. i can’t stay up till 3 in the morning…i’m an early riser kinda girl…

    did i miss the post that you’ve been promising since you started the blog, about what happened with the flatmate and penny and how you really KNEW you weren’t supposed to marry her but you did anyway because you had worked so hard for it?

    i’m just reminding you….

    thanks by the way for the comment on my blog…i can def see how you use your blog for an emotional boost through hard times, and i feel like i totally got a kick of sunshine from reading everyone’s well wishes… : )

  6. You are right. The sun always comes up and the seasons always change. I have always been the kind of person that realizes that there is always something to look forward to even if I am not aware of it right now.

  7. Awww, beautiful post. Just keep taking the steps towards your goals and you will get there. You are very strong and resilient. Each day will get better and soon enough you’ll look back on this time and think, “Wow, I’m so proud of myself for getting through that.” 🙂

  8. I know I’m dating myself here, but as I read your post, a song began to play in my head…from Dan Fogelberg…

    “And it’s going to be a day; there is really no way to say no to the morning…”

    It was a great song, but I only had it on vinyl, and well, that’s a long time ago now.

  9. Lately, due to a medical condition, I’m not getting much sleep. Every day is both June 23 and Dec 21. While the sun is up, I feel better and even a bit energized. But when the sun sets, so does my energy and my mood. But rest won’t come. I drag through the night attempting to read and write in some manner that approaches sentience while I worry about how long I can go like this before something really goes wrong. I keep this up until I can close my eyes for an hour or two and begin the process again the next day.

    Be very glad that you are healthy right now – and do what you can to stay that way! You have passed Dec 21 and are on your way toward a new Spring day. I hope to join you there.

  10. […] Well, I suppose I should start filling in some of the gaps in my story — thanks for the prod, Erika — and so I’ll begin by introducing another character. I’m sure that one of […]

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