The summer solstice was days away and the earliest sunrise had already passed. The earliest sunrise and the latest sunset are not on the same day. To those of us who rise before the sun, it does make a difference. I’m a morning jogger (when my back allows it). I prefer to go out before work because otherwise you have to interrupt your day to put on your scuzzies and then come back all sweaty, hoping you didn’t forget about a meeting just after. The thing is, I start work early and my preferred jogging time is around 5 a.m. Back in May it’s easy to believe that this timetable is workable. Then in August, almost like it’s pinned to the first of the month, you realize that it will be much closer to six than five before it’s light enough to see. So the seasons go.
Even in the midst of a heat wave, you can smell autumn coming. Yes, I know there will be hot days and uncomfortable nights yet. But just as surely as Back to School merchandise begins to appear in July (school had been out maybe two weeks by then), fall inexorably follows summer. Around here it’s been drier than normal. Stressed trees began shedding leaves in July as if to say, “Alright, we’ll give this a try again next year.” They are much more obvious about seasonal changes than the rest of us, but we’re all impacted by the always shifting patterns of light and warming, or cooling, mercury. Seasons remind us of what it means to be mortal beings. Melancholy isn’t always a bad thing.
Being a morning person, at least in my case, means spending quite a bit of my creative time in the dark. In fact, back in June it’s like it gets light too soon for me to go jogging right away—I still have things to do first. I also know it will still be some time before it’s dark when I go to bed. I have no trouble sleeping in the light. Our schedules are part of our perceptions of time and light. We all agree, more of less, that from nine to five we’ll be at our desks, whiling away the most productive hours of sunlight. I remember commuting to work in the dark only to commute home also in the dark. Using that time for creativity is important, but so is trying to keep healthy. Like the great dramatic acts of the solstices and equinoxes, it’s all a matter of balance.