I usually get up around 6:30 a.m. I brush my teeth, feed the cats and then head out for an hour’s walk.
These days — about three weeks since the autumnal equinox — it stays dark for more than half of my walk. (Sunrise on Thursday, October 13: 7:41 a.m.) The weather’s been pleasant — somewhere in the 50s, headed towards highs in the 70s — and virtually cloudless almost every day. You can see the stars above. Perfect walking weather. I love it.
But I hate it, too.
I hate waking up in the dark. I hate the gradually shortening days. I hate the inexorable slide towards winter, with its gloomy grayness, bare trees and growing chill. This summer lasted way too long in Atlanta — and it’s not really over yet, with highs in the mid-80s forecast for next week — and I’m glad for the cooler weather. I’m OK once I’m up and walking. But when I first open the door, my mood matches the darkness.
I know, I know. It’s the way of the world: the circle game, the season cycle, the endless loop around the sun. I tell myself I like the seasons. I’ve spent my whole life in the East, where you actually get a sense of time turning, and Lord knows that as much as I hate the advent of winter I also I crave the announcement of pitchers and catchers reporting by the time the pit of February rolls around. You can’t have hope without despair. (In Atlanta, I find January to be the worst; there’s often a warm spell in early February, and by then the days are getting noticeably longer.)
Maybe it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder. Maybe it’s just age. But oh, here we go again.
At least there’s no rain in the forecast.