After closing down the Lange kitchen last night around 8 pm, I sat down to get my fix of American TV, and after what I thought was only a short while of my eyes glued to Bloodlines, my son turned to me and asked, “What time IS it?” Looking at my watch I was shocked to see it was already 9:30 pm. I’m usually in bed by now (and he usually has control of the TV). The thick black-out living room curtains were still open and the sun was still brightly shining on. And then my son said looking outside, “How is this possible?” Sunny nights are another expat fringe benefit living this far north in Europe. And one of the reasons I’m finding myself a little more tired.
With the sun rising at 5:15 am and setting close to 10:30 pm these days in June, energy abounds. Sort of. It’s not like I need less sleep, but with 18 hours of this glorious sunshine my brain thinks I have enough energy left to stay up later and wake earlier. Melatonin, where are you when I need you?
Not wanting to miss out on one moment of any sunny day (and eve) in Amsterdam, everyone seems to be outside ALL DAY LONG, day ending at 11 PM. Dining tables and chairs are brought out onto sidewalks, singular chairs onto tiny outdoor landings, cafes become overloaded spilling onto bike paths, canals are bustling with boats and finding green space at parks becomes a competitive sport. The atmosphere of play is infectious and it actually takes effort to slow down.
I have also noticed my fellow Dammers’ moods are lighter too. There’s not so much grumbling at the tram stops, people are smiling as they pass by, bikers are actually waving me to walk IN FRONT OF THEM at the crosswalks and there is much less beeping of cars on the thoroughfares. See what the sun can do.
The forecast looks bright for the following seven days so pack up those picnic baskets, invite people onto your sidewalks and into your gardens, grab that empty outside table at a nearby cafe and enjoy it. Remember, once fall comes, so do the dark days.