Losing Light, Gaining Night

Every day we lose a little bit of light. Over the summer, I consistently walked at 7 p.m. every night, and in September it became 6:30, then 6. Now, there is no longer time for me to drive to the preserve to walk in the evening, so I walk down the road and back. Sunset is at 6:04. Observing the light change is different when you notice it day by day. Usually, we just blink our eyes, and it’s suddenly dark by 5 p.m. The evening walks have put this loss in high contrast, step by step. We are losing daylight on the other side as well–I used to be able to go outside very early, but now the sun rises at 7:15.

The shift to the indoors forces you to reevaluate everything, especially with the pandemic and the imminent loom of the next wave. It’s funny how everything seems new in some way this year. The other day I was wondering what I used to do; it doesn’t seem so different, yet it is. So: what is different? What is different is that I never thought about anything. I didn’t question my actions. The only thing that hasn’t been questioned is walks, and I’ve dug into them even deeper than before. I now walk about five miles a day, in spurts of one or two miles. I am determined to continue to fit them in. This will be my third winter walking every day, but, with the upped the mileage, it will be a challenge.

This morning, I opened the door at 6 a.m. to let the cat in, and I stood on the front stoop, feeling the cold bluestone beneath my wooly socked feet. The still dark sky was a deep indigo, soft and misty, no stars–no chance to see the Orionids on this night. A lone katydid rasped in the side yard. The diminished hum of crickets filled the damp air. The slightest hint of light showed in the southeastern sky. At 52 degrees, it felt comfortable, even in just my pajamas. It was very still, until I was shook from my reverie by the rumblings of a neighbor’s truck jostling slowly. I could see the truck’s headlights on the private drive through the trees bouncing on the dark trees. I closed the door and went inside.

Notes:

Why did the deer die? Do you remember the deer I wrote about in Death in the Woods? I had been wondering why it died. Well, I found this article the other day, and now I know. There were two other deers dead in the interstitial woods bordering my house, one in the summer and one just recently. It was definitely odd, but now it makes sense. Poor deers.

Daylight Savings ends on November 1.

Early voting in Ulster County starts this Saturday. I have written all the times on my calendar. I am ready to vote! I hope you are, too. I unequivocally support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I can’t imagine why there would be any contest at all. They have tons of experience, and they both pay their taxes! There’s a lot more than that, of course, but if you care at all about climate change and this great planet, which you should, that’s the only ticket.

  1. yet again, you’ve written (beautifully) about many of the things on my mind. I haven’t had a chance to read that deer article yet but it’s lying on the table and caught my attention when I brought the woodstock times (or whatever it’s called now) down from my mailbox after an afternoon walk yesterday. Also 100% agree about who to vote for and the urgent need to reestablish some semblance of decency and good government for this country. I have 9 postcards left to write of the 50 and my hubby got me stamps yesterday to put them in the mail on 10/26. Need to write those early voting dates down!

    Keep on walking, thinking and writing.

  2. I’m not even sure where to begin to respond to this post, as there is so much that resonates/I love, so…I’m just going to say that this was great (as always!). Thank you thank you THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts with us. ❤

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