Thursday, September 29, 2011

9.26 There’s Nothing Wrong With Your Eyes, It’s Just Getting Darker


It’s been warm and sticky for days now. But you can’t fool us. It’s not Louisiana in the summer. It’s not anywhere in the summer. If you leave work to go home at six-thirty, when you step off the train, the air may feel like July – but it’s dark.
The clock of the universe keeps moving. I thought I was enjoying my golden late-summer days, the serenity of August, followed by gently brisker, reliably dry days of September’s final summer weeks. But the play of the seasons didn’t follow the script. We got a succession of wet weeks, rolling up the days like a newspaper to slap at the endless supply of small, quick, late-born, in a hurry, blood-hungry mosquitoes. No garden work is attempted without their inevitable, head-buzzing accompaniment.
It’s actually darker more than half the time now. We passed that dividing line between longer days and longer nights when the sun ducked below the autumnal equinox last week.
What happened to those long, lingering outdoor suppers, when the light hung in the sky until nearly nine o’clock?
We move forward through time, gaining natural light, gaining outdoor time until by the same linear process we start to go backwards and find ourselves in a circular universe once more. We’ve had all the long evenings we’re going to get this spin of the globe.
Just as we have “less time,” fewer minutes and hours, that is, of natural light, the unripened fruit in the garden has less opportunity to be kissed by the sun. The unopened buds on the coreopsis have less urge to open themselves to the light. The flowers that have not yet managed to bloom are increasingly less likely to do so. I wait for them to open, but they just sit there, waiting for a Prince Charming who’s not going to come.
I’m not sure what the grasshoppers and crickets think of this development. The bees are if anything busier. The grasshoppers still hop away at my approach down some garden path that brings me too close to their current stations, provoking great acrobatic leaps into the void, or to the next cluster of leaves. The song of the crickets seems as consistent when my windows are open now to the strangely humid weather the newsprint meteorologist attributed to something “pesky” in the upper atmosphere, as they did in the stirring late summer dark of a couple weeks ago.
But I hope they don’t need a lot of natural light to finish their season’s business. They won’t be getting a lot of it.
It’s a good thing the twilights and early evenings this time of year are so beautiful, because we get to enjoy them at an earlier hour.