Driving home I thought about what a love-hate relationship I have with this time of the year. The air is crisp and smells earthy like no other time of year. Most of the trees have given up their leaves; some remain as if expressing defiance in spite of insurmountable odds, the crimsons, rusts, golds and even the occasional greens providing visual enjoyment in otherwise increasingly bland landscapes. Yards have started to change too, from the vibrant green of summer to the muted khaki tones of fall as the lawns prepare to sleep, going without water for the next few months.
It’s really amazing the range of colors, from the dull rust of some of the oaks, to the truly vibrant red of the Euonymus, which gives it it’s common name, burning bush. On a sunny day, late in the afternoon as the sun is low in the sky and nearing the golden hour, a burning bush can look so intensely red that it will take your breath away. Yet I know that within days, or if I am really lucky weeks, it’s all gone and all I’m left with for month will be the bleak gray of winter.
The sky looks different to me too, with fewer of the fluffy clouds that are characteristic of summer. You know which ones they are, they’re the ones you can lay on your back and find animals in. They really do seem to disappear in fall as more cirrus clouds fill the sky, lighter and wispier. In my imagination I can picture an old weatherman, kind of like Father Time, as he begins to advance the seasons. As the chill comes on he starts up his own fireplace and the wisps of smoke come out from the chimney, crossing the sky not unlike like the clouds we see.
In spite of the beauty that can be found in these, the shortening days bring with them sadness from a pending sense of withdrawal, from friends and neighbors, from social events, from many outdoor activities that so many of us love in summer. I’m not a winter person – I want to just go to ground when it’s cold out. I don’t ski or snowshoe, and think anything below zero is just plain inhuman. I have to pack away my tropically painted Adirondack chairs, my bamboo wind chime and brightly colored yard flags. I’m sure there is probably at least one neighbor out there saying “hooray!!” but eh, who cares. All I can think about is that in early November, it’s less than 6 weeks to the shortest day of the year before we can start gaining our precious sunlight again.
Speaking of gaining light, does anyone else think that Daylight Savings Time is an idea whose time has come – and gone? First of all, no one can even remember when we’re ON DST (is it summer or winter?) let alone why it was started in the first place. The answers are: Summer, and originally, so a New Zealand golfer could golf additional rounds after dinner. Ugh. It went away for a number of years, then was adopted in the 1970s in the US as a part of the Energy Crisis. However subsequent studies have provided mixed results on whether or not it saves or uses more energy, but the increases and decreases are both small. The bigger impacts are on health, safety, economics and confusion.
Maxine really did say it best, didn’t she? Seriously, what’s the point. Arizona, Hawaii and Puerto Rico don’t do this to themselves, and neither do some Canadian provinces and a handful of countries. So if you travel a lot, have family and friends around the world or work internationally, you have to remember all this. Yes, the internet helps, but sheesh, wouldn’t it be easier if we didn’t have to try to remember? And then we have to worry about if our body has adjusted, or if we’ve forgotten and missed appointments, or are early for things. Gah! Let’s just do away with this once and for all.
The farmers hate it too, as they would prefer being in fields earlier and home earlier, rather than staying out until 10 at night. Who can blame them? How long do you suppose it takes their poor dairy cows to adjust to the time change? “Uh, Bessie, sorry, but your poor udder will need to just hold out another hour…clock says it’s NOT 5 yet. I don’t care how much you moo.”
Guess what teenagers? It won’t kill you if you get up earlier because the sun came up earlier. I know, I know, you heard it would and you believed it, but it isn’t true, any more than all the other ridiculous rumors you hear as a teenager. No one’s going blind, parts won’t fall off, and yes, just once is an issue. (But of course, since I don’t have children I will do what any wise woman without children does…toss these topics over the proverbial wall to someone else and their blog, like the hot potato topics they are 🙂
So don’t forget, this year Daylight Savings Time ENDS at 2 AM on Sunday, November 6. That’s this coming weekend, so you need set your clocks back.