Monday, October 3, 2011

A chill in the air, and altered sunlight

I feel the chill in the air and welcome it after so many spring and summer afternoons working in the hot sun. Saturday's chill came unexpectedly simply because I had not looked at the forecast, somehow assuming that summer's warmth would continue through the weekend. I borrowed a jacket from my son for a chilly walk through his Greensboro neighborhood, reveling in the brisk breeze and the changing leaves. We needed only the aroma of a wood fire to think that winter had fully arrived.

The sunlight is different. After last weekend's dreary clouds and misty rain, the sunlight is back but no longer the same. Its obtuse angle gives a different feel to the daylight. It is the difference between a spotlight set too low and a broad-spectrum floodlight shining high overhead. Driving west in the late afternoon on Friday, I shifted my eyes and my whole body to take the glare out of my eyes and to avoid being blinded by sunlight on a plane with my face.

Light is quickly receding. Darkness slips in before dinner is done, and the night stretches out to cover more of every 24-hour span. The artificial creation of Daylight Saving Time will soon be repealed until next year, and the darkness will push out the light before the end of every workday.

Last week, walking out to the driveway to retrieve the morning newspaper, I looked up at the cloudless sky and saw Orion stalking prey across the black sky, the surest sign that winter is on its way. Nature's time cycle continues its revolution, and it is good.

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