It's five o'clock and it's dark. I'm surprised by this, though I can't imagine why; I've known it was coming since we moved the clocks forward last Spring. I've known it was coming since forever, it always comes.
I used to dread the time change; the darkness felt oppressive, depressing even. I am a self-proclaimed light seeker, light chaser, light lover. I love the long summer days, I love early sunrises and late sunsets and walking around the neighborhood with my family after dinner in the golden light just before dusk. I love waking up to a room flooded with light. I love the light, and I used to think that meant I couldn't love the shorter winter days, but I've changed my tune.
I didn't dread the time change for a single second this year. In fact, I looked forward to the extra hour of sleep (thank you, teenage children) and to a quiet un-programmed weekend. I didn't think much about the time change at all, and now it's five o'clock and it's dark.
I started moving around the house noticing the familiar light and shadow play at 330 instead of 430. I started dinner at a quarter to five, the darkness falling, the cues playing tricks on my brain. It's chili and cornbread for dinner tonight, which feels cozy, and I will light candles on the dinner table. The windows are cracked and the crisp November air is squeezing in through the cracks. I've pulled out all of the throw blankets in the house and left them on sofas and on chairs. The rice bags have reappeared. I'm baking potatoes.
When it gets dark so early, I am pushed, stretched, motivated to look harder for the light - literally and metaphorically. I need the light, there is no doubt about that, and when nature does her quiet dance of darkness, I have to make my own. Lighting candles. Watching the sunrise after I drop the kids off at school. Lamps, all the lamps. Spending a few minutes outdoors. The big south-facing windows in my studio definitely help. Taking pictures of the light whenever and wherever I find it. More candles. Another sunrise.
There are forty-five days until the Winter Solstice, and forty-six until the days start to get longer again.
That's a speck of time, really. Hardly enough to get used to candles on the weekday dinner table. I'd best get started.