A while ago, I said I’d given up coffee for hot cocoa.

I’ve had an occasional cup to be sociable when cocoa wasn’t available. Rotary meetings, after church, that kind of thing. Other than that, I’ve kept with it.

After the initial changing of habit and the day or two of grumpy caffeine withdrawal, I’ve felt better. It’s been going on six weeks now. The only time I miss it is when it’s brewing and I come in from outdoors and smell it. It smells so good.

A couple days ago I came in while it was brewing. I thought maybe I was wrong about cocoa tasting better. I poured myself a little, took a sip. Nope. It doesn’t taste better. Just bitter nothing-at-all taste.

I don’t understand how something can smell so good but taste so bad. If only there were a drink that smelled like coffee and tasted like cocoa.

The other part of changing the coffee habit to a cocoa habit is the effect on sleep. In general, I sleep much better.

Not having coffee (and I’ve never been a heavy soda drinker either) means not having the artificial awakeness of the caffeine. I’m finding that my body is reverting to more natural rhythms. I get tired when the sun goes down, and it’s harder to get up before the sun comes up. Once it’s light, I’m perfectly awake.

I’m convinced that this is healthier. But in the Adirondacks in winter, the sun doesn’t come up until after 8, and sunset is around 4:30. Silas has to meet the school bus at 7am, and Rotary meetings don’t start until 7pm.

I understand that when days are so short people have to do things in the dark. It’s just that I’m now keenly aware that spending so many active hours in the dark is a social construct made possible by the invention of the lightbulb. Our natural state in winter is closer to hibernation.

(To last night’s Rotary speaker, if I was yawning, it wasn’t you. It was just way past my bedtime.)

The flip side is this summer, I expect I’ll be up at 4:30 when the sun comes up and able to stay up till 10 every night, no problem.

Just another reason to move to Puerto Rico, where the sun always rises and sets at around 6.