I have never felt the rush of time as I do this autumn. Last winter, time seemed to freeze — it just sat there, segueing from one dark cold day to another, week after week after week. In summer, time seemed torpid from the heat, slogging from one meltingly hot day to another for months on end. In spring, the high, almost constant winds made time feel as if it were whirling in place.
But this autumn? Each day feels significantly colder, darker, and shorter than the previous one, as if time isn’t so much marching on, but is running flat out. Even though winter doesn’t show up on the calendar for another two months or so, it feels as if autumn can hardly wait to get rid of the heavy responsibility of being the intermediary between two harsh seasons, and is hurrying to shrug off the burden. I can’t imagine how I will feel in ten days when daylight savings time ends — perhaps as if in its haste, autumn fell off the cliff into darkness. Afterward, I’m sure, autumn will pick itself up and limp slowly toward winter, but until then? Time will continue to rush along, pulling me with it, and sooner or later, winter will come.
I have a hunch one of the reasons time seems to be moving so fast is that I am not ready for winter. I have done most of what I can to get my garden ready for winter, though without any moisture falling from the intermittent clouds, I’ll be out there shivering as I water the lawn occasionally. There are also a few patches of garden still to clear out as well as a plant or two to bury (well, bury the roots) so they can survive the coming freeze, but otherwise, I’m pretty much ready. What I am not ready for are the months of cold and darkness, though I’m sure I’ll get used to them as I always do. During those months, I console myself that at least it’s not the sweltering summer. (In the summer, I deal with the heat by telling myself that at least it’s not the frigid winter.)
Another reason, of course, that autumn seems to pass so quickly is that summer heat encroaches on the beginning of the season, and winter chill encroaches on the end, so it feels like a short season, with a few weeks of temperate weather squeezed between months of extremes. It does show me, though, how important it is to appreciate each day for what it is, and especially to appreciate the longer evenings that we still have before daylight savings ends and early night crashes down on us.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.