It’s coming. It’s almost here. The end of Daylight Savings, the time of darkness.
Already it’s starting. You’ve probably noticed that days are shorter, sunset coming just a minute or two sooner each day. Where once you could sit in the yard or go for a stroll at the Arboretum for hours after dinner, now it’s dusk right after dessert. Soon it will be even more extreme, the sun sinking low by three, setting not long after four. You drive home in darkness. The night seems to last forever.
And you know what? I love it.
No, really. I love this dark time of year. It’s the way things are supposed to work. Darkness is supposed to come to give us a rest from the light.
Darkness is nature’s way of telling us it’s time to slow down. Time to rest, time to sleep, time to heal. Dark evenings are for sitting and thinking. Dark nights are for goofing around on Facebook, or binge-watching “Game of Thrones,” or reading “War and Peace,” or whatever floats your boat — all those guilty pleasures that you can’t indulge on a beautiful June evening with the summer sun still high in the sky. Not that you want to turn into a couch potato. But there’s an ancient, ancestral instinct to hunker down in the darkness, walk more slowly, go more carefully. Give things more thought.
We need the darkness. We need a time for owls to hoot and coyotes to howl and prowl.
Without dark, we can’t see the stars, the moon, the meteors making bright scratches across the night sky. The autumn constellations are among the most beautiful and dramatic, as you know if you’ve ever stargazed from the top of Meeting House hill. In fall, look for Perseus reaching up to Andromeda, and soon the seven little sisters, the Pleaides, will rise. And when you spot, late on a chilly fall night, the three bright stars of Orion’s Belt, you know that winter is just around the corner.
It doesn’t last long, the dark. The bright lights of the holidays will be on us all too soon, catching us in the glare like deer in the headlights. By the end of December, the days start getting longer.
So enjoy the soothing darkness. Yawn, curl up in your burrow and dream of spring.
Anita has several new books coming out in 2022 and 2023. Be on the watch for these titles or visit her website at https://anitasanchez.com to place pre-orders.
Monkey Business: The Battle Over Evolution in the Classroom (Houghton Mifflin/Clarion Books)
Meltdown! Why Glaciers Are Melting and Why We Should Care (Workman Press)
Save the Whale Sharks! (Philomel/Penguin Random House)
Hello, Puddle! A nonfiction picture book exploring a deceptively simple but unexpectedly crucial resource for wildlife: puddles! This lyrical, gorgeously illustrated nonfiction picture book is perfect for young science learners and nature lovers.