Slow Crawl, Sudden Plunge
An explosion of color before the high latitudes go black and white–that’s what fall is to me, set against a sky my mother always called “October’s bright blue weather.” To anyone who has spent a lifetime of autumns above latitude 45, the change that’s happening now is somewhat poignant. Although winter has its charms, up here it has a way of overstaying its welcome. But nature’s approach to seasonal change is slow and gradual, which makes the adjustment easier. What I don’t go for is the feeling I get every year with the onset of Daylight Savings Time that a precious hour of light has been stolen from my afternoon for no reason.
Why do we call it daylight savings when that’s what it snatches away? Why have it at all? Miss Sorkness, my unforgettable sixth grade teacher, answered that question for us with her usual irony. As I recall, it had something to do with cows needing to be milked in the dark–or was it that the farmers didn’t want to milk the cows in the dark? Or was it in the light? To this day no one has been able to give me a more cogent explanation for the logic behind this annual plunge into twilight on a pleasant Sunday afternoon, which this year will happen with an additional mean and chilly twist on the first day of November. It’s a shock to my system every year, and I need about a week to adjust to the change, but I never get over the late-afternoon torpor that comes with this unnecessary, inexplicable theft of light that keeps on stealing until it peaks at the winter solstice when it’s dark as midnight by four o’clock. For whose benefit, if you please? There is a bit of an explanation here…but no straight answers.
So I’m loving this photo of a tree with colors like hair on fire against the October blue of a New Paltz sky, taken by my daughter Shannon Flynn, and enjoying the last remaining Sunday afternoon before this year’s dreaded plunge into the dark.
October 25, 2015